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Mediation, or structured negotiation, may make divorce easier

Divorce is never an easy process due to the emotional and financial challenges it involves. Your biggest fear may understandably be going through a long, wearisome battle with your future ex. Fortunately, not all divorce situations involve litigation.

The use of divorce mediation, also known as structured negotiation, is currently a rising trend. With mediation in Minnesota, you and your spouse can focus on settling your divorce-related disputes without further court intrusion. This process is oftentimes much more amicable than going to trial.

What does mediation involve?

With mediation, you and your spouse rely on a neutral third party to help you to achieve a mutually beneficial resolution. The mediator is different from a jury or judge, in that the mediator cannot force either you or your spouse to accept a particular settlement. Instead, the mediator's job is to help you both to reach an agreement on your own. In this way, you and your future ex can pursue an agreement that works best for your situation, instead of going by what the law dictates.

How long does it take?

The mediator works with you and your future ex directly over the course of multiple mediation sessions until you can reach an agreement. A few stages are involved, including the introduction, the information gathering stage, private caucuses held with the mediator, negotiations and then the final resolution.

Mediation benefits

Mediation offers several core benefits, including the fact that it can be a lot less stressful than divorce litigation. It is especially helpful for divorcing parents with minor children. Mediation gives them practice with resolving conflicts early on, which they will have to do as co-parents in the future. In addition, mediation is generally less costly than going to trial because divorce issues can be resolved more quickly.

Your rights

During mediation, you and your spouse may discuss and try to resolve a wide range of issues, including the division of property -- such as the family home -- as well as child support. Other matters you may need to discuss include child custody or spousal support.

This structured negotiation process is all about compromise in Minnesota. However, it is within your rights to pursue the most personally advantageous settlement during this type of alternative dispute resolution process, while also ensuring that your relevant rights are preserved.

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