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How can divorcing spouses benefit from mediation, as opposed to litigation?

The common perception used to be that divorce always had to be a battle, resulting in a winner and a loser. While many divorces do require litigation to resolve difficult disputes, ending a marriage can be done in a way that allows the spouses to cooperate and resolve their differences amicably.

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution increasingly used by divorcing couples in Calgary and throughout Canada. When spouses choose mediation instead of litigation, they have the opportunity to reach creative solutions that account for the family's specific dynamics. These solutions are reached in an out-of-court setting, and the spouses are able to avoid the costs of litigating, as well as the time-consuming and highly formal proceedings of the Court.

Typically, when spouses have to litigate their divorce, the proceedings last one to two years, if not longer. Through mediation, divorcing spouses tend to resolve their differences in one to two months.

Mediation also allows for valuable flexibility to let the spouses determine the terms of their divorce settlement. The spouses can choose to have their mediation be lawyer-assisted or not lawyer-assisted. With lawyer-assisted mediation, each spouse brings his or her lawyer to pose questions and provide legal advice during the process. If mediation is not lawyer-assisted, then the process may involve only the spouses and the mediator.

Other third-party professionals, such as accountants and child psychologists, may also be included in the mediation process.

To learn more about mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution, please visit the ADR overview of Kirk Montoute LLP.

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