You have likely watched a familiar scene play out in many of the popular TV shows and movies that you watch — a divorcing couple battling things out before a judge. In the end, one person wins and the other loses. While this might make for an entertaining scene, it is not necessary a very good approach to divorce. Instead, you may want to consider mediation.

As an alternative to full-on litigation, mediation in California is usually both more time and cost effective. During this process, you work with a third-party professional, who helps you and your soon-to-be ex facilitate negotiations. You will address all aspects of your divorce, from property division to child custody.

Knowing that you are in the driver’s seat can be both comforting and overwhelming. You may wonder why you should take on the responsibility yourself when you could instead leave it up to a professional family law judge. But mediation is not just you and your ex sitting alone in your room, hashing things out. The mediator you work with will be specially trained in guiding conversations and helping you reach positive conclusions. Here are a few things to consider before discounting mediation:

  • It allows you to maintain more control of the outcome.
  • It is typically less stressful than traditional litigation.
  • Everything remains confidential.
  • You can improve your communication skills with your ex, especially if you will be co-parenting.

Mediation can be a smart alternative for those in California who are interested in a more cooperative approach to divorce. Using this process does not mean that you cannot seek guidance from an attorney. As with most legal matters, it is important to have someone on your side who can assert and uphold your rights.