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Litigation a better option than mediation for some divorces?

This California family law blog has used prior posts to discuss the many positive factors that can influence individuals to choose divorce mediation. With lower general costs and more cooperation than is usually experienced in traditional divorces, mediated divorces could allow individuals to work with their partners to bring about peaceful ends to their marriages. However, there are some marital situations that are not well suited to mediation.

A mediation forum is generally not bound by the same rules as a courtroom. Because of this fact, there are not as many formal procedures in place to keep level the balance of fairness between the divorcing parties. In couples where one party dominates decision-making, mediation may not be a successful method of divorce.

Additionally, mediation will take divorcing parties to the ends of their marriages, but they may not flush out all of the issues that would be addressed in a courtroom divorce. For example, the cause of a divorce can have bearing on support decisions and other end-of-marriage matters; in a mediated divorce, divorce causes do not necessarily have to be addressed.

Finally, divorce mediation may not be appropriate when prior instances of domestic abuse have occurred between the divorcing parties. There is a presumption here that a domestic violence victim may not challenge the divorce-related desires of his or her partners in a mediation setting, but as every couple is different, the outcomes of mediation can vary based on the parties to the procedure.

Many couples with active disputes and experiencing contested divorces choose to litigate their matters instead of working them out in mediation. The decision of how to end a marriage is personal and individuals interested in divorce mediation should look at both the advantages and disadvantages of the process before making a decision. Family law attorneys throughout California can help their clients evaluate if mediation is right for their divorces.

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