Dayton residents who are separating at the end of a marriage will often follow the traditional process. A litigated divorce is what we’ve all seen and heard about – both sides retain attorneys and present their arguments to a judge, who eventually makes a final ruling on property division and other matters. However, a less traditional but increasingly common alternative process may offer a beneficial alternative to couples in certain situations.

We’re talking about the process of divorce mediation. In divorce mediation, rather than having a judge rule on the division of marital property and other family law issues, the couple attempts to reach an agreement with the help of a third-party mediator. Mediation can alleviate the hostility that can arise during an adversarial divorce hearing, which can be particularly advantageous for divorcing parents who must continue to work together to some degree in raising their children after they separate.

Mediation is also more likely to produce an agreement that both parties will stick to, since they worked together to craft it, than a judge’s divorce decree. And mediation, while not free, can save divorcing partners money. With reduced legal expenses, little or no expert witness fees and other professional fees, a mediated divorce could be much more cost-effective than a traditional divorce.

We’ll continue our discussion of mediated divorce in a follow-up post, including a look at those situations where it may not be an appropriate choice. The information is provided to help our readers develop a complete picture of the mediation process, and is not intended as specific legal advice.