With a traditional divorce, every document is filed with the court. Any interested party can view this information. The same applies to anything said in open court. The court reporter records every word and significant gesture, and all of this becomes public record, accessible to most people. For high-profile divorces, this often includes members of the media seeking their next big story.
Divorce should not be sensationalized. Couples’ dirty laundry should not be aired to the public. Divorce mediation has many advantages, and one of the most significant is the privacy it offers.
When a couple pursues divorce mediation, they are protected from having their statements and negotiations made part of the public record. This means they have the freedom to discuss sensitive topics and consider solutions without fearing that the things they say and do will be used against them. They can be forthright and open, which typically leads to a better outcome.
Why Is Divorce Mediation Private?
Mediation is confidential because it is not a public proceeding. It is a voluntary process that involves a neutral third party, a mediator, who works with a divorcing couple to help them reach decisions about any issues they have difficulty agreeing on. This may include child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. Often complex and involving heightened emotions, these matters can be challenging to resolve. A mediator allows each party to share their side of the story, their concerns, and their needs. From there, the mediator guides the couple to reach a workable solution for each disputed matter.
Divorce mediators do not have the authority to decide the outcome of custody, support, or property. They take notes during mediation sessions, but these notes do not become part of the public record. In fact, everything that is said and shared during divorce mediation is private.
What Is Confidential During Mediation?
Virtually all parts of mediation proceedings are considered confidential. This includes everything said by the divorcing couple and the mediator. It also includes any documents or evidence that is presented during mediation. Even the mediator’s findings and recommendations are confidential. What’s more, mediators cannot be called to testify in any resulting court case.
There are some exceptions, however, so it’s important to talk to your divorce mediation attorney about your case and what may apply in terms of confidentiality.
The Benefits of Privacy in Divorce Mediation
Imagine trying to reach an agreement on one of the most important and complicated aspects of your life in the public eye. Imagine trying to share your feelings and concerns in a formal courtroom setting, where you couldn’t possibly feel comfortable enough to fully express yourself. Mediation allows for a more meaningful and in-depth exploration of divorce-related issues because the parties know their privacy is protected. They can interact with one another and explore potential resolutions without worrying that what they say will be misconstrued or used against them in some way.
Mediation encourages divorcing couples to find their middle ground, reaching agreements that are mutually beneficial and address their unique needs. In an area like divorce, which has the potential to be volatile and will impact the rest of a person's life, nothing could be more important.
Interested in learning more about privacy and divorce mediation? Talk to our Southern California divorce mediation attorneys at Alternative Divorce Solutions. We’re standing by at (949) 558-2624 to help!