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Is mediation an option for divorce settlements?

As Rhode Island residents know, the separation process can be extremely difficult. However, have you ever considered mediation as an aid in your divorce settlement? If you have, there are a few things you should know about the mediation process for divorce matters.

A recent article explains that mediation is an out-of-court process for people who cannot resolve differences on their own. There is minimal involvement with the legal system. Nevertheless, mediation is still a structured process that minimizes the intense environment that is often present during heated settlement conversations.

The mediator, a nonbiased neutral party, helps disputants reach a negotiation in a very amicable way. However, mediators are not judges, and they do not make decisions. This is because unlike court, no one "wins." Instead, parties reach their own resolutions with direction and support of a neutral. The mediator helps the parties communicate.

Mediation can work in the early stages of divorce, when a couple first decides to separate. Although they tend to be emotional, a mediation session with an experienced mediator like Steven Hirsch, allows the parties to vent and yet see that they can work together, like when they both admit to having the best kids in the world.  Once disputants have vented their anger and are ready to be civil, divorcing couples will benefit even more from mediation.

Many people see mediation as a private, non-legal process, where they control the tempo and the resolution. While this is true, many mediation settlements still involve an attorney (as a mediator cannot provide individual legal advice). A lawyer can assist parties through the mediation. Also, an attorney should be hired so that the final agreement can be processed through the courts.

Mediation is not for everyone. However, it saves more time and expense than a litigation-based divorce. Therefore, if you are interested in exploring resolution options for your divorce settlement issues, you may want to speak to an attorney. A lawyer can inform you about the details of the process.

Source: Huffington Post, "What most people don't know about divorce mediation," J. Richard Kulerski and Kari Cornelison, Jan. 24, 2012

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