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Respectful divorces are often possible through mediation

No matter how or why it happens, divorce is rarely simple or easy to bear emotionally. Even when a couple intends to split amicably, litigating the divorce before a judge in a courtroom can make an amicable divorce very difficult to achieve.

This is because, in part, traditionally litigated divorces often are inherently adversarial. Spouses appear in court with their legal teams and argue for favorable terms before a judge who may penalize one side or the other for poor behavior or other issues. Not only may litigating a divorce in court elevate tensions between spouses, the process may drag out much longer than necessary if the court is overloaded. Litigation also generates hefty legal fees and court costs, which may exceed far beyond the couple's means.

This makes it very difficult to remain respectful and fair during the divorce process, and even beyond. While a divorce may begin amicably, the longer it drags on and the greater the expense to the spouses, the more likely that tensions between them may boil over and derail the process.

A more peaceful alternative

Fortunately, litigated divorce is not the only path to dissolving a marriage. Divorce mediation offers couples tools to reach fair agreements about every aspect of the divorce. Mediation provides divorcing couples with a neutral environment and professional guidance, allowing them to work together to achieve the divorce they want.

The mediation process is relatively simple. A couple meets with a certified mediator who understands how to guide both parties toward reasonable, fair terms while ensuring that all of the legal issues receive proper attention.

The mediator does not represent the interests of either party, but remains purposefully neutral, shepherding both spouses toward fair compromises. Mediation does not seek to crown one spouse as the "winner" in the divorce. Instead, the process works by allowing both parties to gain and sacrifice in comparable ways.

Maintaining privacy

Mediation is a confidential process. None of the matters discussed in a session become public record, and may not be used as evidence against either party unless specifically requested as part of discovery in a legal case. The mediator generally may not divulge anything said or done in a mediation session to a judge, even if one party or the other admits to some form of wrongdoing.

Because mediation takes place in a neutral, private venue and not inside of a courtroom, there are no public records. Couples that wish to keep the details of their divorce private may find it much easier to do so in mediation, rather than petitioning the court to seal the divorce records.

Divorce can be more difficult than couples expect, but it doesn't have to be devastating. If you and your spouse hope to achieve a fair and respectful divorce, mediation can offer you legal tools, guidance and privacy, thus keeping your rights protected and allowing you to set the tone for this transition into a new season of life.

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