Divorce Mediation California

California wrote the book on mediation.

Forms of alternative dispute resolution have been practiced in the Golden State since 1961. That’s at least 25 years longer than any other state, as far as we know.

And it’s that long history and community-wide commitment to keeping people out of court that makes us enjoy practicing in California so much.

Unlike other states where mediation may be an afterthought, in California, it’s not only the first thought, but often the only thought.

Allowing California divorce mediators like us to focus on the issues that matter most to couples. Instead of trying to explain how mediation works or getting them to realize just how much time, money and heartache they could save if only they'd mediate.

It was convenient and cost effective to mediate with Equitable Mediation. And the best part was working with Cheryl and Joe. Their knowledge and expertise was outstanding and their compassion and encouragement was greatly appreciated.

They made a stressful, difficult process easy to navigate and manage. I'm very impressed!!
- K.E.
former client, Encinitas, CA
What advice would I give someone who is considering working with Equitable Mediation? I would tell them to do it 100%! 
- R.K.
former client, Sherman Oaks, CA
I loved having Cheryl available for coaching throughout mediation. It made a huge difference in my confidence and how I interacted with my wife between sessions.

And it kept the conflict at bay!
- D.A.
former client, Pasadena, CA

California Divorce Mediation Locations, How to Get Started and FAQ's:

Mediate Your California Divorce with Us!

Whether you work inside the home or outside of it, have minor children, grown children or are child-free, have been married a short time or have been together for many years, a California divorce through mediation is the best way to peacefully and cost-effectively end your marriage out of court.

If you and your spouse have agreed to divorce and you both want to mediate, take the next step and book an initial meeting for the two of you.

Book an Initial Meeting


Or if you’re early in the process, learn how you benefit by mediating your divorce.


Other Questions About Divorce in California:

What's the difference between family law mediation and divorce mediation in California?

While the terms “family law mediation California” and California divorce mediation” can sometimes be used interchangeably, “family law mediation California” is the broader of the two.

For example, family law mediation may be used to help non-married California parents make decisions on, and resolve, issues of child custody. In this case, since they were never married, there would be no “divorce” in the mediation process.

While any topic involving the family may be brought to resolution using a mediator, could fall under its umbrella, California divorce mediation refers to a specific alternative dispute resolution process focused on ending the parties’ marriage.


How is mediation different than collaborative divorce?

While both the mediation and collaborative divorce process choose to focus on keeping couples out of court, there are a significant number of ways in which they are different.

That's why we wrote this helpful article about mediation versus collaborative divorce to help you understand better the significant differences between the two, and the advantages that we feel mediation provides.


In California, do the parties have to go to court to get a divorce?

No. There is no requirement that the parties go to family court in California order to get a divorce provided the proper information is exchanged between the parties, all issues and disputes are resolved and agreed upon, and the proper paperwork such as your Marital Settlement Agreement and divorce petition is drafted and filed with the California family court system.


What are the residency requirements in a California divorce?

In order to file for divorce in California, you must be a resident of the state for six (6) months, and the county you wish to file in for three (3).

If you’ve recently moved, and don’t yet meet the California residency requirements, you can always begin the California divorce mediation process, work through the issues with the guidance of your mediator, and then file your divorce. In our experience, parties can come to resolution on all issues, and have a settlement agreement in hand, within four to six months. Thus allowing time to pass, and moving the parties closer to meeting the residency requirements.


Generally speaking, what is the California divorce mediation process?

At a very high level, the mediation process in a California divorce case is as follows:

  • The parties would engage the services of a California divorce mediator - instead of using attorneys to litigate or engage in a collaborative divorce process - to help them come to resolution on all of the issues required in their divorce case and avoid court.
  • It is important to note using a mediator to guide parties (you and your spouse) to settlement does not mean you permanently waive your right to work with a divorce lawyer in the future should your dispute turn contentious, and the need to appear in front of a judge arises.
  • Assuming the parties are open to negotiation and compromise, during mediation sessions, the mediator would use his expertise in a variety of alternative dispute resolution techniques to guide the parties to settlement on all the necessary issues in their divorce case. The good news is mediation in divorce cases has a very high success rate so the chances of successfully coming to settlement on all issues is extremely high.
  • Upon the parties reaching settlement, the mediator would then draft a document called a Memorandum of Understanding, which is used to create the parties' Marital Settlement Agreement. The Marital Settlement Agreement, or MSA for short, is one of the documents filed with the California courts for the parties' divorce.
  • The parties would then work with a filing professional (such as a Legal Document Assistant - formerly known as an Independent Paralegal) to prepare the court filing, divorce petition, and all other related paperwork. They may also wish to have the divorce agreement reviewed by divorce attorneys which we encourage, however, it is ultimately the parties' choice as to whether they do so.
  • Upon the court receiving the proper documentation and court filing fees, a few months later, a judge will grant the couple their divorce.


Can I still mediate if domestic violence is an issue?

If you and your spouse are not permitted to be in the same room with each other, but are permitted telephone contact with each other, then our online mediation format may be an option if domestic violence, or a power imbalance in your relationship, is an issue for you.


What’s the difference between a divorce mediator and a divorce mediation attorney?

Divorce mediators come from a variety of different backgrounds. Some divorce mediators are attorneys, so they may refer to themselves as a "divorce mediation attorney." Other mediators are mental health professionals. While others, like our mediator Joe, are financial professionals.


Can my mediator give me legal advice or tell me what to do?

No. Under no circumstances can a divorce mediator give you legal advice. Even if they are a divorce mediation attorney. In their role as a neutral third party mediator, they must only provide you with legal information, not legal advice.