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At what stage of divorce is it best to consider mediation?

Most people in California may be aware that one of the options available if their marriages should end is mediation. Divorce mediation is becoming the chosen method to reach divorce settlements for those who want to save money and time. It is also true that divorce mediation provides a platform to negotiate a settlement free of the trauma and animosity typically associated with litigated divorces.

However, some misconceptions exist, including at what stage to proceed with mediation. Advisors say that the best time is not at the beginning of the divorce process, but rather once all negotiations have reached a dead-end. Sometimes couples manage to agree on all but one or two issues and then seek the help of mediators with only those matters. At the start of the process when one spouse has just announced the intention to file for divorce, the other spouse must have time to process the news rather than jump straight into negotiations.

Only once both spouses are ready and committed to finding resolutions can divorce mediation be useful. A mediator's role is merely to encourage communication, and such a professional typically have the skills to steer divorcing couples toward compromise where necessary, and he or she may even suggest possible solutions to problems. A mediator may not provide legal advice, and a settlement agreement drafted by the mediator can be reviewed by the attorneys of each party to confirm legality and fairness.

Although the goal of mediation is to avoid the courtroom, certain procedures will involve the court. For that reason, each party can benefit from having an experienced divorce attorney to provide support and guidance throughout the mediation process and the final preparations of the settlement agreement before presenting it to the court for finalization. Some California people may find that the lessons learned during mediation will equip them with skills to better negotiate post-divorce issues.

Source: Huffington Post, "What Most People Don't Know About Divorce Mediation", J. Richard Kulerski, Kari Cornelison, Accessed on Aug. 5, 2017

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