Mediation as a positive divorce alternative

If you are facing a divorce, the last thing you need is more stress and anxiety. You are likely weary and overwhelmed with the details of the process, not to mention the reaction of your friends and extended family since you shared the news. With so much drama around you, it is likely you are looking for any opportunity to reduce the level of stress related to your divorce.

You and your spouse have more alternatives than couples in past generations. Courts and marriage experts have learned that divorces do not have to be brutal battles and that people come through a divorce healthier if the contention is kept to a minimum. This is where divorce mediation comes in.

Controlling your own future

It is not unheard of for litigated divorces to drag on for years. You do not want this, and despite your differences, you may not want to put your spouse through it. Additionally, you are not relishing the idea of giving a judge control over what your post-divorce life will look like.

With mediation, you and your spouse come together in a calm and neutral environment and negotiate until you reach your own agreements on important matters, including:

  • Child custody arrangements
  • Child support
  • Property division
  • Spousal support

Once you and your spouse reach a workable plan with the guidance of a mediator, you present your decisions to a judge for finalization. Your mediator works with you, keeping you focused on the issues and providing suggestions for compromise based on Missouri laws.

Preparing for mediation

If mediation is something you would like to try, your first hurdle is to convince your spouse that this is a positive alternative to litigation. Without his or her willingness to mediate, it will take a judge's referral to start the process. A careful vetting of trained and experienced mediators will be important to finding one with whom both of you will be comfortable sharing the delicate details of your divorce. Your attorney may have a recommendation.

Since you will be negotiating many concrete aspects of your divorce, it will help to have documentation of relevant items, such as income, expenses, debts and assets. It will also be important to have an idea of what you expect to accomplish through the mediation process and the line you will not cross with a compromise. You will find that your legal counselor will be of great help in preparing you for this kinder, gentler form of divorce.

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