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Mediating your divorce may reduce hard feelings

If you have friends or family members who have gone through painful divorces, you may sense that something about them had changed when it was all over. Perhaps they seemed more bitter in general or less passionate about their lives. You may notice that even when they are in front of their children, they have a difficult time getting along, and it seems as if the divorce itself had turned them into enemies.

Undoubtedly, you would like to avoid this with your own divorce. In fact, as you sensed your marriage coming to an end, you may have envisioned remaining friends with your spouse and working together for the good of your children. Fortunately, this can be a possibility if you choose methods like mediation instead of litigation.

The benefits of mediation over litigation

More married couples are discovering the benefits of divorcing through alternative dispute resolution. Through mediation, you and your spouse, typically each with your respective attorneys, meet before a neutral third party who guides you in reaching agreements about the major issues in question, such as property division, child custody, spousal support and child support.

While it may be difficult for you and your spouse to discuss some private matters in front of a mediator, many couples find the outcome is more satisfying and easier to comply with than a divorce order handed down by a judge. Mediation is often cheaper, faster and less adversarial than litigation. However, if both of you are not amenable to the process, it may not be a good fit for you.

Getting ready to mediate

As easy as this method of divorce sounds, it generally requires a fair amount of preparation, including steps like the following:

  • Obtaining legal counsel
  • Convincing your spouse to mediate instead of litigate
  • Coming to an agreement about who the mediator will be
  • Compiling a detailed list of your assets, income, accounts, insurance policies and personal property
  • Gathering evidence of your income and other earnings
  • Listing your debts, including your mortgage and individual credit cards, and all expenses, including those involving your children

Your good faith effort to compile complete and truthful information could go a long way during negotiations. When you have all the information you need to begin, all parties will typically agree to meet at a neutral place. Your attorney may be able to arrange this for you.

In fact, there are many ways in which a California attorney can contribute to your preparations for mediation without stirring up ire and contention between you and your spouse. So, you may want to get the advice of an attorney who has experience in alternative dispute resolution.

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