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Divorce mediation: pros and cons

Divorce mediation is a process in which a divorce is facilitated by a neutral mediator. Divorced couples in California as well as in other parts of the United States often experience unpleasant situations as they are going through the divorce process. A mediator can help the divorcing couple to agree to the terms of the divorce.

A divorce that goes through mediation can help to establish an amicable relationship between the divorcing spouses because mediation focuses on negotiation rather that argument. Having an amicable relationship with an ex-spouse is especially helpful if there are children involved and the parents wish to share custody of the children.

The mediator must act impartially and should not support the cause of either spouse. Each spouse should consult their respective lawyer before signing the divorce settlement that has been reached through mediation. The process of mediation is private and a lot is left to the discretion of the spouses. Usually, mediation also takes less time than a typical litigated divorce.

However, there are certain disadvantages to mediation. It might be a complete waste of time if the spouses fail to reach an amicable settlement. In such a situation, the spouses eventually end up in court and all of the time and money that was spent on mediation is wasted. Also, it might be difficult to find a completely unbiased mediator. A mediator is not allowed to give any advice and can only encourage the spouses to reach an agreement.

Sometimes, mediation can lead to a poorly drafted, one-sided agreement that can be challenged in court. That may happen if one of the spouses dominates the other spouse. One of the spouses might get away with not revealing all of the assets and liabilities because all disclosures in the mediation process are voluntary.

Therefore, although mediation is a less expensive, less-confrontational way of obtaining a divorce, it is not for every couple. Considering the pros and cons, it is advisable that you consult a divorce lawyer before choosing mediation for your divorce.

Source: Forbes.com, "The Four Divorce Alternatives," Jeff Landers, Accessed on June 25, 2015

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