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A divorce does not only remove a relationship from a person’s life, it can also remove a great deal of wealth from a person’s portfolio. Part of the divorce process involves splitting up the assets that the partner’s to a couple shared during their period of marriage. In California, couples who choose to end their relationships may do so through traditional litigation or through divorce mediation.

Litigation is at its core based on confrontation. It pits individuals against each other based on their different perceptions of events and agreements; in the context of divorce, litigation forces individuals to face off against each other in a public environment structured on court rules and procedures. It can be difficult for individuals to talk out their preferences with regard to how their marital property should be divided and in the end they may see the courts decide if they will walk away from their marriages with items of value to their names.

In contrast, divorce mediation takes away many of the procedural hurdles that can prevent individuals from having real conversations about the distribution of their shared property. Mediation occurs in private and with a divorce mediator who does not advocate for either party and assists the individuals with talking out the decisions they must make to officially end their relationships. Individuals who use divorce mediation can create the property settlement agreements that fit their post-divorce needs and that can help them maintain financial health as they moved forward.

Divorce mediation provides divorcing parties with choices about what will happen to their shared assets after their relationships end. Though litigation can be an effective way to bring about a divorce, it can also deprive individuals of the ability to control their financial futures as they separate their lives from those of their partners.

Source: forbes.com, “Avoid The Financial Pitfalls Of Divorce,” Michael Kay, April 12, 2016