Mediation has steadily been gaining ground over the traditional divorce court proceeding. It is highly popular among couples who are either approaching middle age or are well into that phase of their lives: They see it as a more civilized way of ending marriage.
Mediation is also a more economical choice, as the whole process can be over in a timely fashion. There is no resemblance to a protracted divorce court timeline, where the final gavel may not come down for a year or more.
Meet your mediator
You and your soon-to-be ex will rely on the assistance of neutral third party, an attorney trained in divorce mediation who will guide you through the process in a much more relaxed atmosphere than would be found at court. The mediator will be alert to the possibility of anger or frustration as you work toward a settlement and will diffuse these kinds of emotions by keeping you focused on the task at hand.
Taking it to the court
Your guide knows what the court will look for in the final settlement agreement and will help you arrive at a meeting of the minds that will satisfy everyone. When your work is done, the mediator will submit your agreement to a judge who will review and sign it. Once this happens, the court will hand down the formal divorce settlement, and you and your spouse will be bound by the terms.
Why older couples like mediation
If you and your spouse have spent many years together, you would like to avoid an adversarial relationship and be able to interact with one another peaceably whenever you meet in the years ahead. The fact that you can get along will benefit mutual friends or grown children who need not feel awkward about inviting both of you to certain events or family occasions. You may want your freedom but hope to achieve it without a lot of discord. An experienced mediator will help you get on with your lives in as civilized and expedient a manner as possible.