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Divorce mediation may help in settling disputes

As Pennsylvania residents who are contemplating divorce may know, the more disagreement between a couple to reach an accord, the more financially cumbersome it may become. In some instances, an argument over a minor item may end up costing much more during litigation than its actual value.

One task during a divorce is to prepare a financial statement listing assets, income and expenses. This may become more complex if the couple owns a business. In this instance, it may be better to use a financial planner who understands how to incorporate the information along with tax, retirement benefits and other assets to work out a financial strategy. Checking credit reports may also be a good idea since one marriage partner may have made purchases without the other's knowledge. Problematic credit reports may adversely affect an individual's ability to make purchases, rent housing or buy a car following the divorce.

The use of divorce mediation may also be helpful during the process. A mediator might be able to facilitate communication between the couple to reach agreement on issues. This may make settlement without litigation possible. Recommendations on reaching an agreement on minor issues, such as which parent is paying for the child's soccer uniforms, rather than allowing the issue to overshadow pertinent decisions may be advisable. Flexibility in small issues may lessen the impact of larger decisions. In addition, at the attorney's office it may be prudent to stick to the business at hand. As the mediation process goes forward, focusing on the issues may minimize discord and save time. A mediator may be able to help a couple eliminate nonessential discussion.

An attorney can help a client by being present during the mediation process. The attorney can offer guidance concerning specific questions and safeguard the client's rights in the process.

Source: CNBC, "How to get divorced without breaking the bank", Susan Caminiti, Feb. 9, 2015

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