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A divorce doesn't have to be a knock-down, drag-out affair with both sides hiring lawyers and heading to court. Divorce mediation and collaborative divorce can help you avoid court and resolve questions of property, child support, alimony, and child custody in the way that works best for your family. Divorce mediation brings a neutral third party, the mediator, into the equation; the mediator helps both spouses work together to reach an agreement, which can then be entered as a divorce judgment by a judge. Agreements reached in mediation are very likely to stand the test of time, because the spouses have worked out the agreement themselves, instead of having a judge impose it on them.
Collaborative divorce also brings the spouses together to negotiate with the assistance of lawyers, with everyone involved promising to resolve the divorce without going to court. If the spouses don't reach a settlement with the help of their collaborative attorneys, the attorneys have to withdraw and the spouses must start from scratch with new lawyers--a major incentive to reach an agreement. Collaborative law is a good option for couples who have trouble communicating and want the support of a lawyer who is advocating for them.
Whether you choose mediation or collaboration, staying out of court will benefit you, your spouse, and your children.