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Consider mediation, even if you hate your ex

Too many people assume that divorce will inevitably be bitter and contentious. After all, when two people are divorcing, they often feel angry, sad, intimidated, guilty, betrayed and/or distrustful about each other. This can make it very difficult to imagine working together.

However, the truth is that you don't have to be on great terms to pursue options like mediation in your divorce. You don't even have to like each other. In fact, California courts require all individuals seeking custody orders to attend court-ordered mediation prior to hearing on the matter. It is a good idea to consider mediation as to all issues before dismissing it as an option.

Below are some of these benefits.

  1. Mediation can be faster and cheaper than litigation. Even if you don't agree on big issues, you and your ex may agree on smaller issues fairly quickly, which keeps the process moving forward. Fewer delays and fewer court appearances can mean less time and money devoted to the legal system.
  2. You won't have to rely upon a stranger to define your family's schedule. Negotiating parenting time and schedules is a challenge, and it won't necessarily get resolved in one session. However, working with an ex to create your custody plan is preferable to having someone who has never met you or your kids create the plan.
  3. It can set a good example for kids. Seeing parents work together can be reassuring to children. Additionally, not only does it shield them from the potential ugliness of litigation, it also illustrates the importance of compromise and collaboration even when people don't get along.

These benefits can make it a little easier to seriously consider mediation as an option for your divorce. Of course, just because mediation may be more peaceful does not mean that it will make divorce easy. There will be challenges and obstacles in just about every divorce, but taking a more amicable approach can prevent things from becoming too contentious.

You should also remember that you do not have to go through any method of dispute resolution alone. Whether you can work through everything in mediation or wind up in litigation, an attorney can be a valuable guide and ally as you navigate your divorce.

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