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Resolving disputes creatively

Reducing emotional stress, legal disputes in divorce

No couple enters a marriage with the expectation that it will end in divorce. Any divorce is likely going to be a challenging and emotionally difficult experience. However, there are some strategies divorcing spouses can pursue to help on both the emotional as well as the legal fronts.

One thing divorcing spouses usually need is, simply, time to grieve. Divorce does entail a sense of great loss for many partners, but it can help to journal these feelings. Former spouses will also need to learn to accept themselves as they are after the divorce and try to move on from what they wish might have been. Once they reach this point, many can begin to envision new personal and professional goals for themselves, which is an important step in starting over after the end of a marriage.

There are also legal strategies some couples may wish to pursue that can help minimize potential conflicts and the reduce the psychological strain of a courtroom battle. In divorce mediation, a trained mediator conducts the mediation, and both parties attend. Mediators are taught to help the couple find ways of ending their relationship without bitter disputes over the details.

Unlike a court trial, mediation does not produce a result unless both parties agree. The mediator will encourage both parties to engage in an open and productive discussion of their differences and the reasons they are seeking a divorce. Even in marriages where property division is a critical issue, divorce mediation can help the couple find ways of dividing their property that maintain the value of assets and produce a fair division of the assets.

It should be noted that mediation is not a one-size-fits all proposition. In some cases, a traditional litigated divorce is in a spouse's best interest. Bust for many, participation in mediation can help both spouses agree upon a negotiated settlement and dissolution of their marriage. A legal professional can help review the options and decide on a strategy for moving forward.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce: Not Just an End - But a Beginning, Too," DD Richards, Feb. 5, 2014

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