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Your thoughts are probably in a constant state of chaos since you and your spouse decided to divorce, and you have likely avoided thinking about the stressful, lengthy court battle ahead. However, there is an alternative to litigation that has become popular with divorcing couples.

Mediation has many benefits and could be the perfect solution for you and your soon-to-be-ex.

How mediation works

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution frequently favored by those who are willing to work together toward a mutually beneficial agreement. Although no one gets everything he or she wants in a divorce settlement, the parties come together to work out a divorce agreement that is satisfactory to both.

Couples meet with a trained mediator whose job is not to take sides but to guide the participants through the process and help them resolve any differences that arise. Even high-conflict couples may find that the mediator’s dispute-resolution skills can help them to come to a settlement.

Why the success rates are high

As compared with litigation, mediation is less expensive and less time-consuming. It is a nonadversarial process that is a private, respectful way for you and your spouse to control the outcome of your own divorce rather than having to abide by the decisions of a judge.

In an environment that is more relaxed than a courtroom, the mediator helps the two of you stay on track and keep issues in perspective. Studies show mediation is less stressful for everyone, including children, who can suffer harm because of contentious, bitter litigation.

Who qualifies for mediation

Mediation is not for every couple. If there is a history of domestic violence, for example, a traditional divorce in court is the best option. However, if you and your spouse believe that you can cooperate, communicate and, in general, work as a team to reach a viable divorce agreement, mediation may prove to be the perfect alternative to litigation.