It might be entertaining to watch explosive legal battles play out on TV or in the lives of celebrity couples, but it is far less fun to go through that experience. Highly contentious divorces usually cost more, take significantly longer to finalize and are simply harder for everyone involved. You probably already know this and might even be putting off filing for divorce because of it.

You have options other than staying in an unhappy marriage or dealing with a highly contentious divorce. Indeed, many Arizona couples use approaches like mediation or collaborative divorces to reach timely and agreeable resolutions.

What is mediation?

You probably already have a very specific idea of what divorce looks like. Does it involve lots of shouting and your ex threatening to keep an important asset if you do not relent to his or her demands? Mediation helps couples avoid situations like this.

When using this process, couples work out their divorce settlement with the help of a mediator. The mediator is a neutral party who is not trying to help either you or your ex “win.” Instead, he or she will guide negotiations, helping steer things as necessary. This is usually cheaper and quicker than a typical divorce, and it also keeps everything off the public record. If you value privacy, mediation certainly has its perks.

Is collaborative divorce different?

Both mediation and collaboration rely on your willingness to negotiate, compromise and even concede when necessary. This does not mean that you have to be an expert at negotiating, as you will generally work with experienced professionals throughout these processes.

A distinguishing feature of collaborative divorce is a willingness to not only work together to reach an agreeable conclusion, but also to do so in a respectful manner. This means that getting heated over disagreements in collaborative divorce is not generally acceptable. If you and your ex both agree to keep things civil, a collaborative divorce could be great for your mental well-being.

Divorce doesn’t have to be hard

Whether you choose mediation or a collaborative divorce depends on your situation and your needs. Both can help you end an unhappy marriage without going through time-consuming and expensive litigation. However, this does not mean that there will not be any obstacles to overcome, and you should be prepared to handle difficult issues like property division and even child custody.

These approaches are not for everyone, and some couples will find better results from going through more traditional avenues of divorce. If you are interested in learning more about these processes, be sure to speak with an attorney who is experienced in Arizona family law, as he or she can better explain which options might be most appropriate for your unique situation.

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