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Why is divorce mediation growing in popularity?

Nobody stands in front of a minister or judge on their wedding day and thinks about getting divorced -- but divorces happen. When they do, a lot of couples want to salvage some kind of relationship with their ex-spouse, even if they don't have kids. After all, it's perfectly possible for two very decent people to just make a bad match.

Hence, the rise in popularity of mediated divorces. Years ago, divorces tended to go one of two ways: Either both parties agreed on everything and had an uncontested divorce, or they hit a sticking point and fought it out through litigation.

Now, a sticking point or two in negotiations doesn't have to automatically lead to a litigated divorce. Mediation can often take its place. Here are some of the reasons mediation has become popular:

  1. Mediation is typically faster than litigation. Both parties generally approach the negotiating table openly, without trying to hide anything. That cuts down on a lot of wasted time.
  2. The lack of wasted time and relative openness to negotiating means less attorney involvement. While it's smart to have an attorney watching out for your interests during mediation, the cost is usually much less.
  3. It's substantially more private. Getting a divorce is already an emotional situation -- which is only amplified when you have to bring all your issues into court.
  4. You save on courtroom costs. Those are additional expenses that most couples are happy to live without.
  5. You and your spouse retain control over your lives -- instead of handing it over to a virtual stranger (the judge in your case). You know best what will work for the two of you -- and you can achieve it with a willing spirit.

If you're contemplating divorce, have an open conversation with your spouse about mediation as a potential path. You may be surprised at the results.

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