A mediator takes no one’s side. His or her role is to help a couple to communicate and arrive at mutual agreements. Through mediation, you may be able to resolve disputes faster, with less bitterness, and at less cost than battling in court.
As mentioned earlier, the family court’s counseling services provide mediation for couples needing help to settle child custody and placement issues. Family court counseling usually doesn’t address property settlements, maintenance, or child support – unless these issues relate directly to child custody or placement. But you may discuss these issues if both of you agree in writing to do so.
Usually, the spouses split most of the family court counseling costs. For more information on family court counseling, see the State Bar’s brochure, Custody and Placement: Answering Your Legal Questions.
Private mediation services also are available. Here a couple can discuss any issues pertaining to their divorce, and they pay all the mediation costs. Your lawyer can refer you to an appropriate service.