Mediation allows divorcing couples to negotiate a resolution to their legal case and/or solve disputes related to parenting, division of assets and debts, spousal support, child support, or any other issues that may arise without going in front of a judge to have a decision made for them.
Mediators are neutral. The couple will sit down with a neutral, third-party professional, usually an attorney or a mental health professional, who will listen to each person describe the problem as they see it and then help the two parties make an agreement. The mediator is a neutral, meaning that the mediator will not take sides and cannot later represent either party in court.
Mediation is not binding. Any agreement that the parties reach is only binding if they decide to turn it into a formal contract such as a Marital Settlement Agreement. If the parties do not come to an agreement, they can still go to court to resolve the dispute.
Mediation is confidential. Anything that is said in mediation is confidential under California Evidence Code Section 1119(c). Any offers made in mediation, as well as anything said during the mediation, cannot be used as evidence in court, nor can they be disclosed through the discovery process (California Evidence Code Section 1119 (a) & (b)).