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Many people who decide to divorce are afraid of the process before it begins. Whatever the reasons are for divorcing, they don’t want it to be finalized in a bitter fight. This is especially true for parents who will need to maintain a relationship while raising their children.

What can divorcing couples do to keep the peace? Luckily, there are alternative options that can take divorce out of a traditional courtroom setting. One such option is mediation.

How does mediation work?

The goal of divorce mediation is to reach a mutual settlement outside of court. Couples select a neutral third-party mediator to help guide negotiations and resolve any disputes in a cost-effective process.

The presence of a mediator can help foster communication between the parties and address the root problems in the divorce. Discussions can stay more productive and less focused on what doesn’t matter at the end of the marriage. For parents, they can work together on their shared parenting vision for their post-divorce lives.

What are the benefits?

Many divorced couples find that mediation is a faster process than litigation and thus is often less expensive. It gives parties more control over the outcomes, and there is more room for flexibility in a finalized settlement. Mediation is also a private process, unlike litigious divorces where records can become public.

Mediation can also keep parents focused on what is most important – their children – and avoid the trap of appearing to pit their kids against the other parent. Modeling collaboration to the very end of the marriage can help lessen the emotional impact of divorce.

Is mediation the right choice?

Mediation does not work for everyone. Divorcing couples who anticipate bitter disagreements likely would not benefit from the process. Additionally, couples who do try mediation and find it’s not working can opt for litigation.

However, if both parties are determined to work together honestly and fairly to provide positive outcomes for everyone involved, mediation can be a liberating option.