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Often, when people hear the word “divorce,” they envision a protracted legal battle wherein the parties spend weeks – or months – wrangling in a courtroom, fighting over every issue. Thankfully, those types of divorces are rare. In general, only a small portion of divorces are so contested that they require that level of litigation.

Many divorces might actually benefit from a non-adversarial method of dispute resolution: mediation.

What is mediation?

Though there are several different types of mediation, it is generally a process by which a neutral third party (the mediator) facilitates dialogue between the parties in an attempt to get them to reach a workable settlement. The parties to the proceeding are each generally represented by their own counsel, and they come together in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration in order to find a resolution.

What are the benefits of mediation?

There are many benefits to pursuing mediation instead of traditional litigation, but perhaps chief among them are the time and money savings. Mediation tends to be much quicker, due in no small part to the fact that it isn’t dependent upon a busy trial judge’s docket calendar. It’s also more cost-effective because agreements are reached in days instead of months.

Self-satisfaction is another huge benefit of mediation. Parties to mediation report feeling more satisfied with the results because they themselves played a part in reaching the resolution. Mediation isn’t dependent upon the whims and discretion of a trial court judge. The parties work together, aided by the mediator, to find solutions to their disputes.

Even if mediation doesn’t result in a complete resolution, it still has benefits. If the parties can resolve all but one (for example) disputed issue, it’s still easier for a judge to decide a single contested matter than four or five.