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Mediation Can Be Less Contentious Route to Divorce

Couples face one basic choice at the outset of their divorce: the decision to go to court to have a judge divide assets according to state law, or to work on a settlement outside of court together through mediation. Generally divorcing couples who choose mediation do so to work through their problems and divide their assets in a less stressful way than a drawn-out court battle.

Mediation is a process where the couple sits down with an impartial third party, usually a trained family mediator, to come to an agreement about the issues surrounding the divorce. This may include how to divide property, custody of any children and the type and amount of spousal support. Mediation generally takes a few session over a couple of months to resolve, and usually saves hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Why is mediation so beneficial, outside of the financial savings? For some divorcing couples, court turns the process too adversarial, and makes finding a mutually beneficial arrangement almost impossible. Children in contentious divorces may face emotional strain as their parents, the most important adults in the world to them, start fighting over assets and custody publicly in court.

Mediation is a voluntary process and can be ended at any time. The mediator will not give advice to either party, which is why both parties will each have an attorney to advise them during negotiations. While each individual retains a lawyer the goal is to finalize the divorce legally without going to court.

Mediation allows the couple, even in a divorce, to remain partners in decision-making throughout the separation. By coming to a mutual agreement, the divorcing couple can avoid one party feeling as if the divorce favored the other ex-spouse. Mediation also protects the children from becoming casualties of the divorce process, allowing both parents to decide what is best for their children. Custody agreements do have to be approved by the court, however.

Depending on individual circumstances, mediation may be the best choice for moving on after the marriage ends. Only a discussion with a family law attorney experienced in mediation will determine if mediation is appropriate for your situation.

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John L. Quigley, Jr.
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Providence RI 02903

Phone: 401-965-4517
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Providence Law Office