Divorce Mediation Q&A

Addressing Commonly Asked Mediation Questions

In California, couples wishing to reduce conflict and work together collaboratively toward an agreeable solution to their family disputes can take advantage of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which includes divorce mediation, private judging and collaborative law.

What is family law mediation?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The mediation process helps spouses/partners negotiate agreements and settlements. One of the many benefits of mediation is that participants retain control over the terms of their agreements.

What is the mediator’s role?

The mediator’s role is to be a neutral third party. A mediator facilitates negotiation, making sure that both parties share all information required to make informed decisions. Generally, all participants must agree to use the mediation process. The one exception is when parents are unable to come to an agreement regarding child custody and visitation. In that case, California law requires the parties to attend court-facilitated mediation.

If I pursue family law mediation, do I waive my right to consult a lawyer?

No. Most qualified mediators encourage (and sometimes require) clients to hire their own attorneys. During the mediation process, you may want your lawyer to review any agreements or participate in the mediation sessions.

I have asked my spouse or partner to agree to mediation yet they refuse. Can they be forced to participate in mediation?

No. Participating in divorce mediation is voluntary. A court cannot order parties to attend mediation. The only court-ordered family law mediation relates to child custody issues. Additionally, the court may order the parties to participate in co-parent counseling.

Do I have to bring my lawyer to mediation meetings?

No. Family law mediation can be held between both parties, individually as well as together, to explore resolutions. While you are encouraged to consult with your own attorney, he or she does not have to attend mediation meetings.

Can the Viola Law Firm help me?

Yes, we can help you. Our attorneys can skillfully represent you as your attorney of record in your mediation, arbitration or private judge case. You can also hire any of our attorneys to simply consult with while you attempt alternative dispute resolution.

If you want to hire an arbitrator, mediator, private judge or parent coordinator, Viola Law Firm has Kathleen McKenna, a retired judicial officer with the qualifications and experience to skillfully, intelligently and efficiently hear, manage or rule on your case.

At Viola Law Firm, we believe each client has unique needs and deserves legal support. To best determine if family law mediation is the right way for you to resolve your dispute, please call us at 650-343-6400 or contact us online. We are here to help you.

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