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Why you might want to consider a mediated divorce

Divorce mediation is a process that essentially rewrites the old rules for divorce. In the past, each party typically found the most aggressive attorney they could afford in order to carve out their fair share of the marital assets and tried to get what they wanted as far as child custody and support.

That's just not how a lot of people are approaching divorce these days. Maybe that's why divorce mediation is growing in popularity.

Increasingly, couples are viewing marriage and divorce out of different eyes. They're marrying for reasons that have less to do with security and more to do with personal fulfillment. They're often divorcing because their needs change or their spouse's needs change -- not necessarily over the old issues of infidelity and abuse that drove most divorces in the past.

Divorce mediation seems somewhat natural for couples like that -- because it allows them to retain maximum control over their situation, rather than surrendering that control to a judge that doesn't even know them. The couple is free to craft virtually any agreement that they like as long as the terms are legal.

There are other benefits to mediation as well:

Typically speaking, a mediated divorce takes a maximum of five months to accomplish. While that may seem long, it's quite short when you compare that to the one or two years it might take you to get through a litigated divorce.

Costs are also better for mediated divorces. If you're cost-conscious, you'll like the fact that a mediated divorce can run tens of thousands less than a litigated divorce.

Finally, a mediated divorce can leave you with a family unit that is divided but cooperative. A litigated divorce is bound to produce a somewhat rigid custody and visitation agreement -- not one that really works out the best for everyone.

If you're thinking about a divorce, only you and your spouse can determine if a mediated divorce is appropriate. The more dedicated you both are to a peaceful ending to your marriage, the better it will work.

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