Mediation can ease divorce for the whole family

For some people who aren't familiar with the divorce process, it may seem inevitable that proceedings will ultimately become hotly contested in court. Even though couples may have serious differences to work out, the reality is that divorce doesn't have to be resolved with a lengthy court battle. In fact, many couples see mediation as a viable option.

Media portrayals of divorce may almost always seem to include protracted court proceedings. That's not the only option, which is something to keep in mind. By choosing divorce mediation, couples agree to sit down with a neutral party to work out a settlement in a thoughtful and fair way.

Before the divorce process even begins, couples may be concerned about how it will affect their children. Of course, these concerns are legitimate, but making a commitment to keep things as amicable as possible can help everyone -- including the kids -- adjust to the split. A family law observer notes that couples must truly understand the terms of mediation in order for it to be successful, however.

In order to reach a mediated settlement, compromise is often necessary. The previously mentioned family law professional notes that making an effort to hear the other spouse out and meeting in the middle on a contentious issue can have a positive influence on the rest of the proceedings. After all, divorce is about splitting up what a couple has created during their marriage, which means that one person probably won't be able to walk away with everything.

At the same time, compromise doesn't mean giving everything up. In fact, both spouses will likely have to do some give and take. Keeping this in mind can help couples reach the ultimate goal of mediation: a fair settlement.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Should I Negotiate or Litigate My Divorce?" Caroline Choi, Sept. 25, 2013

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