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The less contentious road to divorce

Without a doubt, divorce is fraught with emotions -- some good and some bad. The fact of the matter is that those who allow their negative emotions to take over often end up in court, spending more money and dealing with more stress.

For those who can focus more on the good and set aside their negativity, other options come into play. It is possible to divorce in a manner that allows everyone involved to move toward the future with hope and happiness. This does not mean that the parties must engage in settlement negotiations on their own, however. With the right help, the process can go more smoothly and produce results with which everyone can agree.

"It takes a village"

Florida couples who want to remain out of court and retain control over their futures often recognize that they need help in order to achieve this goal. Fortunately, couples can partake in mediation or collaborative divorce, both of which provide varying levels of assistance. Collaborative divorce, or a modified version of mediation, could prove invaluable under these circumstances.

For their legal needs, each party can bring in an attorney who focuses on protecting his or her client's rights and offering legal solutions to issues. Financial advisors can help the parties see how their choices could affect their monetary security going forward. For those who have children, counselors and parenting coordinators can offer solutions to child custody issues.

A neutral third party is often involved who helps keep tensions and confrontations to a minimum. No one expects the parties to go through the process as best friends, and disagreements are inevitable in many cases. This is where the mediator or neutral collaborative facilitator can help diffuse tensions and keep everyone on track.

Develop a plan

Before entering the negotiation phase, it often helps to create a plan regarding how the proceedings will progress. Having either a loose outline or a structured progression provides a path for everyone to follow. This also eliminates any surprises that could potentially derail the negotiations. No one likes for something to catch them off guard, so knowing what comes next proves useful.

Once the parties reach a satisfactory agreement, it is then put on paper, reviewed for accuracy and executed. The next step is to present the agreement to the court. Under ordinary circumstances, as long as the agreement is fair and equitable, it should receive the approval the parties need in order to end the proceedings and get on with their lives.

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