What do you want out of your divorce? If you're like most people, the main thing you're probably looking for is simply a chance to start over and be happy. Of course, you are also likely concerned with the more tangible aspects of the divorce, like dividing up property and debt, setting terms of support and, if applicable, making arrangements for child custody and visitation.
So how do you get what you want in divorce? Well, there is the somewhat traditional way: fight over it. Going to court in an all out brawl is the route some couples choose to take. This strategy might pay off for you financially - but it might not. In many hotly contested divorce cases, everyone loses, coming away from the experience emotionally drained and with big fees for legal services.
While it may not be for everyone, mediation is an alternative to the process of contested litigation that can help you keep your sanity and your finances intact. In a mediation, you will still be represented by an experienced legal professional who will be looking out for your needs. You will still pursue the objectives you are seeking. But, you will do in a vastly different manner.
In a mediation, both parties collaborate to look for value adding opportunities. While parties to a mediation will not likely agree on everything, disputes can be settled in a non-hostile environment by reaching middle ground and compromising.
Mediation usually costs far less than a drawn out court battle, and it also usually leaves parties with less cynacism about the process and better feelings toward their ex. If you want to avoid the dogfight that a litigated divorce case can devolve into, you should explore whether mediation might be better for you.
Source: La Jolla Light, Don't Break the Bank...or Each Other: 3 Ways to Divorce Cheaply and Peacefully, Nancy Fagan, May 30, 2013