If you and your spouse are heading for divorce, neither of you may be thrilled about the prospect of a lengthy, expensive and very public court battle.

Have you considered mediation? This is an option that has been growing in popularity, even among couples with significant assets who face complex property division.

A confidential process

Mediation is a process that takes place behind closed doors outside of court. You and your spouse would meet with a neutral third party, a mediator with special training in this form of alternative dispute resolution. The goal of the mediator is to help you find common ground and reach a mutually satisfactory divorce settlement. Couples concerned about negative publicity appreciate the privacy that mediation affords.

Greater control

Mediation gets high marks as a process that allows you and your spouse to exercise control over your own divorce. If you opt for litigation and cannot reach an agreement on some point, the judge will decide the outcome of the dispute, a decision you may not like. In the mediation process, the mediator will help you over the rough spots, encourage cooperation over frustration and guide you toward decisions you will eventually make yourselves.

Less time-consuming and expensive

The longer the process in court, the more expensive it will be. Traditional litigation may take months or even years, and it is not uncommon for this kind of divorce to cost tens of thousands of dollars. Although the length of time depends on the complexity of the divorce, mediation is a short process compared to litigation, one that is usually completed in just a few sessions. As a result, it is also much less costly.

Less stressful

As a divorce option, mediation has proven to be much less stressful than litigation for both the divorcing couple and their children. Civility replaces acrimony, respect replaces sniping and a more relaxed atmosphere replaces the colder court environment. The mediator will guide you toward a successful divorce settlement that will help you deal effectively with the family breakup and get on with your lives.