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Pros and Cons of Mediation
by Kim Hess

So, you've decided to get a divorce.  Should you go the traditional route by hiring a lawyer and going to court, doing it yourself, or decide on mediation? You ask "What exactly is mediation?"

Mediation is an assisted negotiation between the two parties who are in the process of divorce.  The mediator is impartial and helps to ensure that each participant comes to a fair agreement. Consider the pros and the cons before deciding whether mediation is for you.

Pros:

Cost Effective

Mediation costs are shared by both parties which are significantly less than hiring separate litigation attorneys.

You have control

The parties control how fast or slow decisions are made in contrast to attorneys and judges setting court dates and decisions based on limited time and information.

Paperwork is done for you

Understanding the laws of your state and dealing with complex paperwork is often a difficult task for people who try to do divorces on their own.  Choosing a mediator who is an attorney can save you from headaches and costly mistakes by having your mediator prepare and file paperwork for you.

Easier on the children and you

It is often easier for you and your children knowing you handled the divorce proceedings by coming to a mutual agreement without putting the kids in the middle.

You can still go to court

If you decide on divorce mediation, and are not satisfied with the outcome, you will not give up your right to go to court.  The proceedings in mediation are confidential. You can stop at any time, retain a separate attorney and have a judge decide the issues.

It stresses the positive

Unlike litigation in court which sometimes feel like both parties are being demonized, mediation encourages finding common ground for agreement.  Any positive feelings that remain between former spouses should be preserved and not destroyed especially when you have to parent children.

Cons:

Impossible to not give legal advice

Opponents argue that a lawyer-mediator cannot complete a divorce agreement without giving legal advice.

Whether you decide that mediation is the best way to handle your divorce or not, try to avoid harsh words, putting the children in the middle and prolonging nasty fights out of spite, which will leave both parties economically and emotionally spent.  Ending a marriage is difficult but a mediator can help prevent a traumatic and time consuming divorce. 

 

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