If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, your first thought may be about the traditional form, which requires going to court. However, if you believe the two of you can resolve your differences in a more amicable fashion, the better option could be mediation.
A little background
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. You and your spouse would sit down with a neutral third party who will help guide you in reaching a divorce agreement that is satisfactory to both of you. Along with dividing your assets and debts, you can use mediation to develop a workable child custody and visitation agreement and settle both child and spousal support issues.
First, a discussion
Because it is based on cooperation in working out problems and coming to an agreement, you must first discuss the idea of mediation with your spouse. You should both be aware of the advantages over litigation. Mediation is a much shorter process, much less expensive and much less stressful for the children of the marriage. It is also a private process, whereas a divorce in court is public.
Prepare lists for mediation
You should make a list of both separate and marital assets, including items like jewelry, furnishings, banking and credit card accounts, insurance policies and retirement funds, real property, stocks, and bonds. Make sure you also include any income sources. Once you accomplish this, you can make a list of expenses: your monthly mortgage payments, food and utility bills, car payments and other such expenditures.
Set your terms
Neither you nor your soon-to-be-ex will come out of the divorce with everything you want, but you can prepare terms that are as reasonable as possible. This is not just about assets and debts, this is also about the future. For example, how you want to raise your children and who would take care of them if anything happened to the two of you.
Take the next step
Once you decide on mediation, you and your spouse can engage the services of a trained, certified mediator who will provide the guidance you require to make a difficult time in your lives easier.