Everyone has heard horror stories about bitter divorces that drag on for years, with each spouse trying to make the other one miserable. The end of your marriage does not have to be so contentious, though. In fact, it is possible to divorce your spouse using a cooperative and comparatively amicable process.

Divorce mediation has gained popularity in recent years for at least two reasons. First, mediation is often less expensive than protracted court battles. More importantly, however, mediation typically helps divorcing couples avoid much of the divisiveness that tends to accompany litigation.

Finding a mediator

With divorce mediation, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse choose a neutral third party to act as a mediator. Unlike a judge, this individual does not settle divorce-related issues. Instead, he or she works with you and your husband or wife to find common ground. Of course, each of you can still retain an attorney to help with divorce mediation.

Settling divorce-related matters

During your divorce, you must divide marital property, consider spousal support and perhaps even settle custody issues. Because he or she has extensive experience facilitating divorce mediation, your mediator can likely help you explore conventional and unconventional solutions to these issues. Each of you may meet with the mediator both privately and jointly.

Taking the next step

Because of its many advantages, divorce mediation is likely worth considering. After all, if it does not work out, you have the option of proceeding with a traditional divorce. Still, divorce mediation may not be appropriate if your spouse is combative or unwilling to cooperate.

If you and your husband or wife can reach an acceptable agreement during mediation, a judge is likely to honor it. Consequently, mediation may help you settle many divorce-related issues without going to court, even if you have to save some unsettled matters for the courtroom.