As you pursue a divorce, you’ll likely need to find ways to have civil communication with your spouse. Divorce mediation and marriage counseling are two different paths you can take when seeking resolution in your relationship.

Both mediation and counseling are aimed at reducing the tension and helping you communicate effectively. However, these two options are aimed at very different stages in your relationship,

What is the Difference Between Mediation and Counseling?

Divorce mediation is designed to help you and your spouse find common ground during your divorce, with the goal of creating a divorce agreement. It’s a way of settling issues outside of court by collaborating with your spouse.

Marriage counseling is a type of therapy that can help couples through difficult times. It’s recommended when couples find themselves arguing or dealing with persistent relationship problems.

Counseling will help you solve problems and improve your relationship so you can stay together. In most situations, your counselor won’t recommend divorce to you. Instead, they’ll help you with your goal of maintaining the marriage.

If you are already planning to divorce, marriage counseling may be beside the point of your goals. Some states can require counseling before they will grant a marriage, but California allows no-fault divorce. 

When is Marriage Counseling a Good Idea?

Marriage counseling can be a powerful tool for couples that are going through a rough patch. Your counselor will help you identify sources of conflict in your relationship and help the two of you relate better.

Without a counselor, it can be challenging to notice patterns of behaviors or problems with communication. Some couples use counseling to address specific problems in their relationship, ranging from compatibility issues to infidelity.

Marriage counselors have different specialties, and you can seek out someone who will help you with the issues in your marriage. Many couples find ways to work through their problems in counseling with guidance from a professional. If you are committed to staying married, this is a good option.

However, couples that have already made the decision to get divorced can benefit more from beginning the divorce process, whether through mediation or another method.

When Should You See a Divorce Mediator?

If you have decided to pursue a no-fault divorce, your next step is to seek out a divorce mediator. During your search, look for mediators that offer a free consultation so you can determine if you are a good fit.

A mediator will work with you to find solutions to the main issues in your divorce. Though this isn’t a legal process, many mediators have legal training and can make suggestions accordingly.

Since mediation isn’t part of the legal system, you can discuss issues privately, which is especially relevant for financial matters and child custody. You also have more freedom to talk about creative resolutions to your problems, as long as they are within the limits of the law.

Your mediator facilitates discussion and helps you stay focused on the issue at hand instead of getting sidetracked by arguments.

Even if you and your spouse are dealing with resentment and anger toward each other, a neutral third party can help you set aside your feelings and focus on reaching an agreement. Mediators have professional training in helping people communicate effectively.

Compromise is key to any mediation, and when the two of you control the settlement, you can make trade-offs so each person gets his or her top priority. You can create a settlement that meets your needs instead of one that is based on an outsider’s view of your relationship. 

Is it Better to Consult a Mediator for Divorce?

If you are already set on divorcing, seeing a mediator is a more appropriate choice than marriage counseling.

A marriage counselor can help you figure out what went wrong in your relationship, but that may not be the most pressing concern as you try to prepare for your divorce.

A mediator will help you settle your divorce, addressing important legal concerns. Many couples use mediation to reach agreements outside of court.

Many mediators have legal training or work with a company that has legal staff. They can help you understand your options as you negotiate.

If you are planning to get divorced, try mediation before going straight to litigation. It can save you significant amounts of money and time. You may be surprised at how helpful a mediator can be during your discussions!

Can a Judge Deny a Divorce and Issue Marriage Counseling?

In some states, it is possible for a judge to deny a divorce and order a couple to attend marriage counseling if he or she thinks they can reconcile.

This outcome is rare, and it isn’t a possibility in California or other states with no-fault divorce laws. There are also exemption laws in place to prevent abuse victims from this requirement.

However, California does have court-order counseling for child custody disputes and in some other situations. This includes divorce counseling, family counseling, or divorce mediation. If you are ordered to attend divorce mediation, you can use the court-appointed mediators or find your own.

Choosing your own mediator gives you the freedom to schedule meetings at convenient times, along with other benefits. You can also look for a mediator with expertise in a specific area, like child custody or financial issues.

Choose the Best Divorce Mediation to Help You Finalize an Agreement

If you want to seek out mediation on your own, contact our divorce mediation specialists, Costa Mesa-located.

You can save on legal fees by choosing a mediation service that handles your entire case for a flat fee. Instead of worrying about racking up costs hour by hour, you can devote your full attention to solving problems.

Divorce Mediation of California helps couples reach divorce agreements in a timely manner and at an affordable price. We provide free consultations so we can discuss the specifics of your divorce and how we can help.

Learn more about our services. We offer video conferencing, weekend appointments, and other convenient scheduling options. Contact us at Divorce Mediation of California today.