Many people are aware that one way to resolve disputes is by going to court and pursuing litigation. What California residents may not know is that litigation is not the only way to get a determination of one’s legal matters-mediation is also an option that is not highlighted as much. One area where collaborative law and mediation have proven to be effective, even when there is a high level of conflict between the parties, is in divorce cases.

Unlike litigation, mediation offers a non-adversarial setting for resolving disputes. The reality is that high-asset divorce cases often involve so much information and so many issues to be resolved that parties find themselves in court again and again over every little point.

Additionally, even though the divorcing spouses may have gone to court to determine one issue, once the case begins to roll, it is difficult to regain control over the direction things are heading. A bad situation can be made even worse as couples go back to squabbling over issues they thought were resolved. A mediator can combine all the issues and attempt to reach one settlement.

As the name suggest, a divorce with high conflict is one in which the spouses have little trust in one another and have grown acrimonious towards one another. Litigation is likely to make matters worse, whereas a mediator can help couples unload their issues with one another and help them validate their anger. Until that happens, resolution is often difficult to achieve.

Mediators often ask couples to focus on their children or a looming deadline, such as a court date or an impending foreclosure, as a means to achieving the couple’s goals. Mediators help couples refocus their priorities and resolve their issues for the benefit of everyone involved. To discuss whether mediation or litigation will best suit one’s situation, it might be prudent to talk to an experienced attorney.