Differences between Divorce Mediators in Pleasant Hill California and Divorce Attorneys


Divorce mediators in Pleasant Hill California and divorce attorneys play very different roles.  By knowing what to expect from these legal professionals, couples can make more informed decisions about how they should proceed with their divorce and avoid misunderstandings.  They can then decide whether to use a divorce mediator in Pleasant Hill California, a divorce attorney or both.

Representation 

A divorce attorney represents one spouse and that spouse’s interests.  He or she cannot represent both parties.  A mediator represents neither party.  However, he or she is aware of both parties’ interests and will try to shape mediation in a way that provides for both parties’ interests to be served.

Approach 

Divorce attorneys and divorce mediators approach the legal issues in very different ways.  Divorce attorneys participate in the divorce proceedings by “arguing” their client’s case.  Litigation is seen as an adversarial process in which the parties oppose each other as enemies.  Mediation is a cooperative process in which the parties attempt to resolve their legal issues with the help of a third-party neutral who is trained in conflict resolution.  The mediator listens to both sides and helps guide them toward an agreement.

Control 

While the parties can provide input about what they want out of the divorce, they largely had over control of the case to their respective attorneys who then negotiate or litigate to try to effectuate their clients’ wishes.  If they cannot reach an agreement through these channels, the judge ultimately has control over deciding issues between the parties, such as property division, spousal support, child custody and child support.  In mediation, the parties retain control over whether they want to agree to a certain term or not since mediation is a voluntary process.  They can continue to negotiate during mediation until they reach a decision, or they can decide to leave mediation in favor of pursuing litigation.