You’ve reached a point where you know that your marriage isn’t salvageable. Sometimes, a marriage dies slowly over the years, and other times a sudden event, like infidelity, can bring a divorce out of nowhere. Regardless of the reason, chances are that you’re trying to figure out the best way to handle your divorce and move on with your life.

If you and your spouse are able to communicate with one another, even if you don’t currently agree on critical terms for your divorce, mediation could be a valid option. Instead of going to court, presenting evidence, testifying and hoping that the judge makes a decision you can live with, you can both have an active part in determining the outcome of your divorce. For many couples, mediation is a faster, simpler and more affordable option than dragging a contentious divorce through the courts.

How does mediation work?

Mediation involves you and your spouse sitting down with a neutral third party to address all of the points you don’t currently agree about regarding your divorce. Typically, you will both also have your own attorney there to ensure your rights and best interests are protected throughout the mediation process. It can take much less time than a divorce through the courts, and many times it is more affordable.

Unlike therapy, you don’t have to talk about or work through the issues that caused your divorce, unless they have some bearing on issues such as child custody or asset division. Instead, you can focus entirely on practical matters, such as dividing up time with your children and determining how to split the accumulated equity in your home or your retirement accounts.

Mediation gives you more control over the outcome of your divorce

For many couples going through a divorce, the judge is the biggest wild card factor. Every judge has a different perspective about laws, marriage and obligations. While they must operate within the legal framework for divorce provided by New Jersey state law, there is plenty of room for interpretation in both the law and legal precedent for divorce cases. That can make it nearly impossible to accurately predict the outcome to asset division or custody hearings. Both you and your spouse may wind up unhappy with the outcome decided by the courts.

While mediation doesn’t ensure a happy outcome, it does empower both you and your spouse to advocate for an outcome you can live with. You get to decide all of the terms, which means that you don’t have to wonder who will get the house. You can decide that yourselves, whether one spouse keeps it or you decide that selling it and splitting the equity is your best option. If you believe you and your spouse can negotiate and compromise with one another, mediation may be your best option for divorce.