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Is there any alternative to a traditional courtroom divorce?

Divorce is often depicted in the media as a confrontational courtroom battle. Of course, movies and television tend to sensationalize stories. Not every courtroom divorce is like that, but unfortunately some are.

You may be considering separating from a partner, and you may be wondering what your options are. Perhaps you and your partner can discuss matters in a civil manner but have some disagreements about the division of assets. Maybe you are a parent and do not want to expose your children to the court process and/or you want to work collaboratively with the other "co-parent" to determine financial and physical responsibility for your child. Additionally, you might be looking for a way to cut the costs and time associated with traditional divorce.

An alternative resolution

Luckily, for cases such as yours, a divorce alternative exists known as divorce mediation. Divorce mediation is a way for two parties to work with a neutral third-party mediator to devise their own solutions to the problems of marital dissolution. At the end of the mediation, if it is successful, both parties voluntarily agree to the settlement. The mediator's role is to assist the parties in examining the issues in a focused and understanding way that allows creative problem solving.

The many benefits of mediation

Mediation can help you achieve your goals if you want a resolution that offers a greater ability to control the outcome of your divorce. Mediation can also help you reach an agreement in less time than a traditional courtroom divorce and with greater privacy since mediation proceedings are confidential between the parties involved and the mediator. The mediation agreement is legally sound and can have the added benefit of minimizing hostility. If financial savings is one of your goals, mediation often reduces the overall level of fees associated with divorce.

How does this process work?

In some cases, a mediation is court-ordered. Other times, the individual parties choose a mediator to begin the process. You will meet with the mediator over the span of a few work sessions. The mediator will discuss the rules of the mediation with both parties. If emotions are high, the mediator may choose to separate the two parties and shuttle back and forth, using his or her skills to facilitate mutual solutions between the two parties. If for some reason an agreement can't be made, litigation would still be an option.

For more information

If you believe that mediation for your pending divorce might be applicable for your situation, you may wish to reach out to an attorney who offers mediation services, and who can answer any specific questions or concerns you may have regarding any aspect of the divorce process.

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