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When mediation works -- and when it doesn't

What may have been considered the traditional path through the dissolution of marriage is not necessarily what works best for everyone. Many people see divorce as somewhat of a cookie-cutter process. These people figure that both sides are to arm themselves with an attorney and have it out in court. Under this method, there is generally a winner and a loser.

While this might be effective for some, others are turning to mediation, thus boosting its popularity in Baton Rouge recently.

Many men and women are turning their backs on the "traditional" way of divorcing, claiming that mediation allows for both sides to save money and strike an agreement that they can both be happy with. Some would argue that divorcing men and women should turn to a mediator first once they have decided to part ways.

Contrary to a common misconception tied with mediation, a mediator can finalize the whole divorce without forcing either side to enter a courtroom. During this process, spouses can hash out the important decision on topics like how to divide the finances and debt and child custody or visitation arrangements. A mediator can notarize a final Marital Settlement Agreement and file it with the court.

The fact that these proceedings can be done privately is another upside to mediation. When a divorce is dragged through court, everything becomes public record. This information is made available to everyone from family members to your co-workers. This information can include personal matters, too, like allegations of extramarital affairs (either true or false) or addictions.

Still, mediation is not ideal for every divorce, though. Many divorces include a spouse who is experiencing extreme emotions and want nothing more than to get back at their former husband and wife. Divorce attorneys and the court system is likely the only remedy to these scenarios, as rational compromise is key to mediation. This is a hard mindset to get in after the rejection of divorce.

What it boils down to is the fact that couples need to choose the path that is right for them. There is no right or wrong way to go about divorce. What works for other couples may not necessarily work for you.

Source: The Huffington Post, "4 ways to navigate divorce with GPS," Nancy Fagan, March 30, 2012

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