To dissolve your marriage, either you or your spouse must take legal action. However, this does not mean you have to go through a trial to work out your divorce’s terms.

Today, an increasing number of divorcing couples in Arkansas and elsewhere are taking advantage of mediation to address their disputes. Here is a look at what divorce mediation involves and how it can benefit you during the marital breakup process.

What is divorce mediation?

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process where a neutral third party promotes a voluntary agreement between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. The mediator will facilitate communication between you and your future ex, focusing on your interests and helping you both to reach your own agreement, thus avoiding further court intrusion.

One of the ultimate goals of mediation is to create a mutually satisfactory divorce agreement that works for all parties while maintaining legal enforceability. Another goal of mediation is to avoid the trauma and cost typically associated with litigation. Finally, mediation may help you and your future ex to minimize hostility as well as controversy following the dissolution of your marriage.

What does the mediation process involve?

During mediation, you and your spouse will be able to meet with the mediator in a confidential setting and possibly one another and your attorneys to discuss the specific issues involving your case. As no two divorce cases are identical, your specific issues will be addressed in a back and forth setting where there are offers and counter-offers. This process continues until the matter settles or someone terminates the mediation.

Benefits of mediation

Mediation may be especially helpful if you and your future ex have children. After all, you will have to co-parent after your divorce has been finalized. Mediation may give you both the skills and experience you need to tackle future disagreements in the most amicable and productive manner possible. In addition, mediation may protect your children from the emotional pain of watching their parents fight in divorce court.

Another advantage of mediation is that you can keep your marital breakup matters confidential. On the contrary, at divorce trial, the matters you discuss will end up in the public court records. Furthermore, mediation is usually faster than litigation, so your costs will be reduced. Finally, by working toward your own mutually beneficial divorce agreement, you may increase your chances of finding more satisfaction with the outcome of your divorce than couples who go the trial route oftentimes do. mediated settlements are less likely to require future litigation than cases tried before a Judge.