Overall, divorce rates are falling across the U.S. (although California’s is about 10 percent above the national average), but if you and your spouse have decided to end the marital relationship, one of your first decisions will be what is the best process to choose how to divorce.
Divorce is one of the most stressful life events you may ever experience. Your feelings throughout the divorce process are undoubtedly complicated—you might feel any combination of grief, fear, uncertainty, relief, freedom, excitement, and many other complex emotions at a given time.
Electing to negotiate the terms of your divorce through mediation can be a smart decision with many benefits. Not only are you more likely to reach a settlement quickly, but you and your spouse are less likely to waste money on contentious litigation – and less likely to end up frustrated and angry with the outcome.
Whether ending your marriage was your choice or not, whether your relationship with your ex remains amicable or turns contentious, and whether or not the divorce is burdening you with significant financial strain, the mixed emotions that divorce involves are tough to process and to experience.
Whether you are set to receive or owe spousal support payments, working cooperatively with your ex and a mediator may help you arrive at an agreement more easily, rather than becoming mired in a lengthy, emotional, and costly legal battle.
These days many people are choosing mediation instead of a traditional divorce, not only because it’s faster and cheaper, but also because it tends to be less stressful on the kids. Since mediation is conducted in private and encourages teamwork and cooperation among spouses, kids are not exposed to the same contentious court battles that can occur in traditional divorce.
Although mediators are trained professionals, they are not intended to be used in every situation. In certain cases, it’s in the best interests of both parties to hire a lawyer and pursue a traditional divorce.
One style of mediation that is not used as frequently is called co-meditation. Co-mediation is almost the same as mediation, except that it makes use of two mediators instead of one. This can be especially helpful in complicated divorces, like when spouses share a business or commercial property that needs to be divided.