Sharon Easley
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Do I have to go to court for my divorce?

When you are facing a divorce, it may be the first time you have ever had to deal with a legal issue that has to go through the court system. As such, you may be wondering what the requirements are and if you have to go before a judge.

Not all divorces end up in the court. While you will need to have your divorce registered through the court system, mediation is one alternative to going to court for your divorce. Read on to find out if your situation may qualify for mediation instead of a court-litigated divorce.

Which couples are good candidates for mediation?

The mediation process is not always suitable for every couple. Although mediation can help many couples avoid long and costly court battles, sometimes mediation is not the appropriate solution. For example, in a situation in which one spouse is not being honest and trying to actively get an advantage over the other spouse, such as by hiding financial assets in order to not have to declare them as part of the divorce settlement, the case may inevitably have to go to court. Mediation is a good option for couples who have a willingness to work out their differences for the best of both parties with a spirit of honesty and compromise. Given that divorce can be, by its very nature, conflictual, mediation may not be for everyone.

How can mediation help?

There are many benefits for those couples who are willing and able to seek mediation as an alternative to the traditional litigated divorce. One of the first benefits is a financial one: mediation is more cost-effective than a litigated court divorce, sometimes significantly less. When couples are in open conflict, sometimes they create even more conflict in the heat of the moment, and the hourly costs for a lawyer's time can quickly soar. In addition, mediation can help reduce stressful conflict that can have a negative impact on children. Plus, the divorcing couple maintains more control over decision-making in a mediated divorce.

The first step to seeking mediation is to find a qualified mediator. A consultation can help you understand the process, and a mediator can evaluate your case to see if it would benefit from the mediation process.

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