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Mediation: the cheaper, smarter way to divorce

If you’re like most of our readers then you probably have a sense of dread about your upcoming divorce. This is not uncommon for many people across the state of Alaska or even the nation for that matter. Not only must you worry about potentially lengthy litigation but also the high costs often associated with the process. But while it might be tempting to go through the process without any legal assistance, this might not be the best option, especially when a smarter, cheaper option is available.

We’re of course talking about divorce mediation, which is becoming a more popular divorce option in many states across the nation, including here in Alaska. Unlike the typical divorce process, divorce mediation uses a neutral person, called a mediator, to help couples resolve any conflicts and reach an acceptable divorce agreement outside the formal court system. Because a mediator only facilitates the divorce by helping out with the legal aspects of the process, decision making is left to the couple, which also means that the couple is in control of how long the process will take as well.

People choose mediation over a standard divorce for many reasons. While cost may be one of those reasons, the privacy and non-confrontational setting that mediation can provide is often why many couples choose this option instead. It’s important to point out though that divorce mediation is not for everyone, especially in cases of domestic violence or in a relationship where one person attempts to control the other person.

It’s also worth noting that in some cases, communication can break down during the mediation process and can lead to a standard divorce in the end. Although this can put stress on a divorcing couple, it’s important to point out that many times, any agreements made during mediation are still considered valid and can be transferred to a more standard court setting down the road.

Source: courts.alaska.gov, “Mediation in the Alaska Court System

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