Mediation is a process where people work with a trained mediator to reach agreements with the goal of finishing their divorce without fighting in court. Your mediator helps you resolve issues and can help prepare the necessary documents for your divorce. Mediation is usually much more cost efficient than litigation. You can find more information on mediation here.
Litigation is a divorce method that utilizes attorneys who go to court and ask for judicial intervention to resolve disputes. To become legally divorced, every divorce has to be filed in court and where the parties have not found a way to agree on the issues, they move through the court system and a judge makes orders based on the filings and arguments made by the attorneys. Basic information about family law litigation in California can be found here.
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General Definitions in California: “Divorce” is called “Dissolution”; the “Petition” is the form that starts the divorce; “Legal Custody” refers to making decisions about the child (for example school and medical); “Physical Custody” refers to where the child resides; “Alimony” is called “Spousal Support.”
Most family law courts have “self-help” resources that may be utilized to assist parties to obtain a divorce without attorneys. Check your local county court website or click here for more information.