Advantages of Mediation
Mediation can help spouses avoid litigation, since the court won’t have to resolve any issues if the spouses reach agreement on everything. Mediation can be a beneficial alternative to having the court resolve a couple’s disputes. Mediation is less formal than a court hearing, and it provides flexible scheduling, confidentiality and few rules. Mediation may be cheaper than going straight to court, since it is less formal and allows the parties to decide for themselves the level of evidence to provide in favor of their arguments. Mediation agreements are voluntary, so spouses cannot be forced to reach agreement. When agreements are reached, they are the agreements of the parties, not the directive of a judge who has no understanding of the family dynamic, other than what is presented to him or her in court.
When spouses reach agreement during mediation, they can choose to make their agreement legally binding. This allows the spouses to avoid litigation — and the accompanying costs and delays — because the California court can simply adopt the agreement as it is written. Without such an agreement, the court would have to hold a formal hearing, or trial, to receive evidence to make its own determinations.