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Divorce mediation: What to expect from the process

Many divorcing couples assume that they will head to court in order to put their marriages in the past. While litigation is necessary at times, you shouldn't assume this is the only way to finalize your divorce.

Mediation is a good method to consider, as this puts you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse in full control over the process.

With the help of an Alaska mediator, you can work through the finer details of your divorce and property settlement. Issues to includes in your mediation sessions are matters of child custody and support, property division and alimony.

How the process works

Above all else, you shouldn't go into divorce mediation with the idea that the mediator will do all the work for you.

While this person is available to help move the process forward, he or she will not make any final decisions on your behalf. Instead, you need to negotiate with the other party to reach accord.

During the first meeting, the couple and the mediator will identify the issues to be settled. The next step is to determine how the process will unfold. Each additional meeting revolves around compromising on the previously discussed issues. For example, you may find it simple to agree on matters related to property division. However, when it comes to child custody and support, you may run into a variety of challenges.

There is no way to predict how many mediation sessions it will take to complete the process and reach a final agreement. Some couples are able to work everything out in a couple of meetings, while others require multiple sessions to bring everything to a close.

Once a final settlement is in place, an agreement is drafted and the mediator submits it to both spouses for final approval.

There is no reason to assume that your divorce case has to be litigated in court. While that may be the final venue to determine certain matters unresolved in mediation, it doesn't have to be the first place you start.

You should go into divorce mediation with an open mind, armed with the knowledge necessary to make sound decisions. This will ensure that you know what to expect and that you will do whatever it takes to protect your legal rights.

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