What is Mediation?

Rocks on a wood surface

Mediation is now the preferred way to resolve conflict because it saves time and money while helping people reach lasting agreements.  At Finding Common Ground Mediation and Law Services, our Attorney Mediators are trained professionals with extensive mediation training and experience.  Our role is to remain neutral and impartial and to guide you through the process.

Mediation Explained

Mediation is a confidential and voluntary process where trained mediators meet with people who have legal disputes or potential legal disputes in order to help them find solutions. The State of California does not license mediators, so it is important to find a mediator who is well trained and experienced in mediation. At Finding Common Ground, our mediators are all licensed Attorneys with extensive mediation training. We have a 98% success rate and we also prepare and file any legal paperwork for our clients.

What is the Difference Between Mediation and Litigation

Historically, litigation was the expected and typical way to get a divorce or resolve a legal dispute. With litigations, each party hires an attorney to argue with the other party’s attorney over some or all of the legal issues.

  • Communication goes upward from the party to his/her attorney to the judge.
  • The focus in litigation is on the past.
  • The litigation process is not confidential. The courtroom is open to the public and any communications in the court records are also open to the public.
  • Litigation is often very costly for the parties who go to court.
  • Litigation can often be traumatic for the parties and their children.

Court Mediation

When parties go to Family Court, if there are disputes over minor children, the parties are referred to “Child Custody Recommending Counseling,” or what used to be known as “court mediation.” The name was changed because the CCRC is not a mediator. A mediator is a neutral and can not make a recommendation to the court. The Court provides a Child Custody Recommending Counselor(CCRC), who is usually a mental health professional. The CCRC encourages the parties to reach agreements that are in the best interest of the children. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the Child Custody Recommending Counselor will make a recommendation to the Court. Judges generally accept this recommendation which becomes a legal order. Most sessions with a CCRC are limited to about 30 minutes because they have many cases to complete every day.

A Mediator is neutral and would never write a report or recommendation for a Judge or Court. This violates both the confidentiality of mediation and the neutrality of the mediator. Mediation works best when both Parties feel comfortable with a mediator and know they are not being judged.