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Ladies: Tips to handle a contentious first divorce

Women can have it tough when it comes to divorce. You might have been a stay-at-home mom or have been supporting your husband's career. Now it's been decided that you're getting a divorce, and you need to work out your finances.

Fortunately, there are some ways to work through disputes. Instead of fighting for months or letting a court decide the outcome of your divorce settlement, why not try mediation or alternative dispute resolution?

What is alternative dispute resolution?

Alternative dispute resolution is when you and your spouse work with a third party to settle disputes during your divorce outside the courtroom. ADR helps reduce your overall cost for the divorce by keeping you out of the court room. It gives you a chance to work with your attorney and a third, neutral party to make sure you make your wishes known while you work on a settlement.

ADR includes both arbitration and mediation. Though similar, these two methods do have their differences.

Why choose mediation?

In mediation sessions, you work with your mediator to come up with a settlement for any dispute you have. The mediator is a third party who is trained to negotiate. The mediator won't make decisions for you, but instead lead you and your spouse to a decision that you both agree on. The result is not binding.

Why choose arbitration?

Arbitration may result in a binding settlement or a nonbinding agreement, depending on the type in which you choose to participate. Arbitration is basically a very simple version of a trial. You have limited discovery times and simplified rules for submitting evidence to the arbitrators. While some cases have only one arbitrator. It is more common for a panel of arbitrators to work together. Each person chooses one arbitrator, and then those arbitrators choose the third arbitrator. For instance, you could have your attorney, your spouse's attorney and a judge as arbitrators.

After the panel makes a decision, a binding arbitration settlement or nonbinding settlement results.

For women, arbitration and mediation can help take the stress and anxiety out of asking for what they need in a divorce. The mediators and arbitrators understand and are neutral about evidence and any discoveries made. Mediators and arbitrators help both sides treat a divorce like a business arrangement, taking the emotions out of it as much as possible, so both sides get what they deserve in a settlement.

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