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Mediation and arbitration can help get you through divorce

When there's a dispute with your divorce, it may feel like you'll never be able to resolve the problem. You don't want your divorce to pend for years, so you think you'll have to give in.

The reality is that it's possible to resolve problems through alternative dispute resolution and avoid long, drawn out divorces. Here's a bit more on these resolution techniques and how they can help you.

Mediation: Working together to resolve problems

Mediation is the first kind of dispute resolution that can be tried. It's relatively inexpensive compared to going to trial and allows you and your spouse to talk through problems to come to an agreeable solution.

With mediation, you'll work with a mediator. A third-party mediator guides you to helpful solutions. This mediator is not there to help one person "win" over the other. Instead, his or her goal is to move the divorce forward by finding resolutions to your disputes. Mediators don't tell you what to do, but they can help by giving you information on law and suggestions for resolving certain issues.

Remember that mediation is not legally binding. What that means is that it's possible to resolve a problem in mediation and then to change your mind or to have a spouse who rejects the resolution. If that happens, you may have to go through arbitration or a divorce trial with a judge. Usually, that doesn't happen, but it is a possibility due to the nonbinding nature of mediation sessions.

Arbitration: Finding legally binding answers

With arbitration, you and your spouse do not have to work together necessarily. Instead, you and your spouse present arguments for what you'd like to see happen in your case. These arguments are given to the arbitrator, who may be a trained arbitrator or judge, to review. The arbitrator's role is one similar to a judge. He or she will review what you and your spouse have to say and then make a decision on what he or she thinks needs to happen.

The interesting thing about arbitration is that it is legally binding, in most cases. Once the arbitrator makes a determination, you'll typically be bound to what he or she has decided, and a judge will make it a formal order when your divorce is finalized.

These are two ways to resolve any disputes you have during your divorce. Alternative dispute resolution can be beneficial for anyone so long as you can attempt to work with your spouse.

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