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If you are your spouse are divorcing, the odds are high that you and your spouse aren’t exactly communicating well right now. If you harbor some hard feelings about what happened in the marriage, it can be particularly difficult to contemplate the negotiations you need to have over child custody and visitation, the division of your marital property and issues of support.

Why not let your attorneys help you sort it out and let a judge decide the outcome if you can’t reach agreements? Why bother even trying something like mediation? Mediation may seem like an unnecessary step to take before you eventually end up in court.

Well, there are several reasons that it’s often better to give mediation a try. Here are some thoughts to consider:

  • Fighting about every detail of your divorce through your attorneys can be expensive. You and your spouse can both lose a lot if your battle drags on. That will ultimately leave less in the marital pot to be divided — and less money on which you can build your future.
  • A litigated divorce can take a lot of time. Even a “quick” divorce can take months, and a contested process can drag on for years. If either you or your spouse hopes to move on with your separate lives soon, mediation is quicker than litigation.
  • Letting a judge decide issues of custody and visitation is rarely the best way to go. People do it because everyone expects the judge to see things “their way,” but the judge is likely to fall back on standard formulas and plans that may not make sense for your family. In mediation, you can exercise much more creativity about custody issues.

Most of the time, divorcing couples aren’t nearly as far apart as they think when they start the mediation process. A mediator can often help couples come to an agreement that works — without unnecessary delays or expense. If you’re curious about your options, talk to your attorney about mediation.