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What steps are involved in divorce mediation?

If you and your spouse decide you want an amicable divorce, you may be considering divorce mediation. Divorce mediation offers a lot of benefits: you and your spouse get to have more control over the process, you work together to divide your assets and set up your child custody agreement, and you often can save time and money by settling your divorce outside of court.

However, what steps are involved in divorce mediation? And how long should settling your divorce through mediation take?

Divorce mediation includes four overall steps:

  1. The introductory stage: In the introductory stage, you and your spouse meet with a divorce mediator. You help them understand what factors are involved in your divorce and what areas you disagree on. You also will discuss what legal rules will apply for you, how you will work to make decisions about dividing your assets and child custody and what other goals you have in the mediation process.
  2. The information gathering stage: You and your spouse present your financial information to the mediator. You go over both your incomes, your property assets, your savings and investment information and your debts. You may need more than one session to complete the information gathering stage if you will need to split complex assets or business assets with your spouse.
  3. The negotiating stage: You and your spouse work with your mediator to negotiate your divorce. You decide how you will divide your assets, who will get to keep the marital home if you don’t want to sell it and what your child custody agreement will be. You likely will spend multiple sessions negotiating your divorce.
  4. The final agreement: You will review your divorce agreement that your divorce mediator drafted. You will review it with your attorney if needed so your mediation agreement can be filed with the court.

Often, the divorce mediation process lasts about four to six months. You may need four to six mediation sessions to complete it. Once you and your spouse sign your divorce mediation agreement, it becomes enforceable. You also are more likely to feel better about how your divorce was settled and be able to move forward with less emotional baggage by using mediation over seeking a divorce through court.

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