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An introduction to mediation and collaborative law

Whether your marriage is months, years or decades old there may come a day when you and your partner decide it is time to go your separate ways. There can be many reasons behind this, or just a single reason. Either way, if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are communicating well before and during the split, your divorce could be a candidate for alternative dispute resolution. "ADR" is not right for everyone, but it could be a good option for many approaching a divorce case.

Alternative dispute resolution is an umbrella term for collaborative divorce processes. Mediation is one of those divorce processes, in which a negotiation between the parties is facilitated by a neutral third-party, but not decided by that third-party. It allows the parties to speak directly with each other in order to communicate and to come to a resolution that they both can agree on. Negotiating often goes on between the parties, but they may include their own counsel with them during these mediation conversations.

If you and your partner are completely unable to get through a conversation without aggression or a breakdown in communication, mediation probably isn't for you. However, many are able to communicate in a civil manner and mediation can be a great process by which a couple can help to decide their divorce resolution. This can be extremely helpful for child custody and parenting plan decisions that can be a factor in many divorces.

Understanding what process is right for you during a life-changing event like a divorce can make a huge difference in your personal experience and, potentially, the final outcome. It is up to you and your spouse to decide how to proceed. Obviously, both parties would need to agree in order for a mediation and collaborative law divorce strategy to be a viable and successful option.

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