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Divorce mediation: Know what to expect up front

Once you decide to divorce and realize that you and your spouse are on the same page, it's time to turn your attention to your rights and the process of making your split legal.

There is always a chance that your case could end up in court, but you don't have to go down this path. With a dedication to mediation, you may be able to work through all your differences without the traditional court process guiding you.

The process

Along with a mediator, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will sit down to go through a variety of important details.

  • First meeting: This is when you identify the problem areas and the order in which you'll tackle them. For example, you may need to work through issues regarding property division and child custody.
  • Follow-up meetings: Once you make your way through the initial meeting, it's time to prepare for the future. With the help of the mediator, you and the other person will discuss the issues at hand, with the idea of slowly moving toward a resolution.

There's no way of knowing how many meetings it will take to reach a final agreement, so make sure you remain patient and willing to compromise. Once an agreement is reached, the mediator will take over. At that point, he or she sends the agreement to both individuals for their review.

In many cases, the mediator can then file all the necessary papers with the court. As long as everything checks out, you will not have to spend any time in court. Instead, your marriage is officially dissolved and you can move on with your life.

Even though you may not have much knowledge of divorce mediation, you should understand that it's designed to provide you with a variety of benefits.

From saving time and money to reducing the amount of stress and anxiety, you may come to find that mediation is the best way to finalize your divorce.

The best thing you can do is get in the right frame of mind, as you'll be negotiating with the other party until all issues are resolved. This will prepare you for success.

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