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Divorce mediation: It’s important to understand the process

Many people think about divorce and assume that their case will immediately head for family court. While this may happen at some point, it's important to note that mediation is often the first step in the process.

With mediation, you work closely with the other individual and a mediator to find common ground on a variety of issues. These issues can include things such as: child custody and visitation, child support, property division, debt division and alimony.

While a mediator is skilled at facilitating communication between both individuals, they are not in position to make any final decisions. Instead, their job is to push the process forward in the best way possible.

Here's what to expect from the process:

  • Initial meeting. This is when the mediator sits down with both individuals to discuss the issues that require a resolution. This is your time to put everything on the table, so don't hold back.
  • Additional meetings. Once you know the issues at hand, you will partake in additional meetings. These typically last one to two hours, so you aren't expected to sit in a room for an entire day.

Is an agreement guaranteed?

It's your hope that you can reach an agreement in the near future, as this will allow you to put your divorce in the past without litigation.

If both individuals are willing to compromise, there's a good chance you can eventually reach an agreement. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee this will happen.

How are documents filed with the court?

Most mediators will assist with filing paperwork with the appropriate court, meaning you don't have to do anything on this front.

Once an agreement is signed, it is enforceable by law. In other words, both individuals should be aware of what the agreement includes and what they need to do in order to abide by it in the future.

There are many benefits of divorce mediation, including more personal control over the process. Also, it can be cheaper and less time-consuming than traditional litigation.

If you're moving closer to divorce, it makes sense to learn more about mediation. When you know what to expect it's easier to protect your legal rights during this difficult time of your life.

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