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If you are interested in getting divorced without going to court, and wouldn't mind saving some time and money in the process, then you should consider divorce mediation.
Mediation is a voluntary process in which you and your spouse meet with a mediator who assists you in reaching an agreement. The mediator is a neutral person who does not decide your case nor represent either spouse. Instead, the mediator facilitates the discussion between the spouses so that they can reach their own agreement.
Meetings with the mediator are usually held at the mediator's office and last from one to two hours on average. The number of sessions needed will depend on the level of cooperation between the spouses and the complexity of the issues. The average range is from one to four sessions.
The majority of couples are able to successfully reach an agreement during the mediation process. When that happens, it is then just a matter of completing and submitting the appropriate paperwork to the court to finalize the divorce. For those couples who cannot reach an agreement, they may proceed with their divorce in the traditional court setting.
Since the mediator does not represent either spouse, each spouse may choose to consult with an attorney at any point during the mediation process.
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A mediated divorce generally costs thousands of dollars less than a traditional litigated divorce. Neither spouse has to pay an attorney to go to court, negotiate on his or her behalf, or prepare volumes of paperwork. Instead, the spouses can simply each pay a portion of the mediator's fee. Even if each spouse pays for an hour or two of an attorney's time for consultations during the mediation process, the overall cost for the divorce is still significantly lower.