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Choosing between mediation and litigation in a divorce

In the first few days or even weeks after announcing the intention to end a marriage, few Utah residents would believe that they have a choice. The truth is that litigation is costly, time consuming and an emotional drain on everyone involved. However, for some people, there is not enough middle ground to even consider alternatives such as divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce. In those cases, the best that can be hoped for is that there are at least a few issues that can be resolved without involving the court.

A traditional courtroom setting immediately puts the parties at odds, and they often stay that way because it can be easy to get caught up in the whirlwind that the adversarial process can create. In many cases, neither party walks away satisfied with the outcome. Mediation or collaborative divorce is often less expensive than litigation. In addition, they generally allow a friendlier atmosphere for the parties to resolve their issues.

At a minimum, it might be a good idea for Utah residents who are contemplating divorce to look into collaborative divorce and/or mediation to understand their options. These processes allow the parties to maintain control over their divorce settlement. Negotiations might not always be easy, but at least the parties are invested in reaching a mutually satisfying agreement.

Furthermore, a divorce settlement reached through mediation or collaborative divorce can be tailored to the parties' needs. The courts have some discretion when making their decisions, but they do not normally get too creative. In addition, judges do not know the particulars of every family's dynamics, which means that they are making decisions based only on the information presented to them in court.

Source: Forbes, "What I Wish I Knew Before My Divorce", Michael Smith, May 1, 2016

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