Divorce. It’s not something that you want to think about, talk about, or experience, yet for many couples, divorce is a harsh reality. Whether or not your divorce was expected, the process is never simple or easy. If you’re struggling to figure out how you’ll divide your assets or handle custody disputes, there may be an alternative to spending months in an attorney’s office: mediation.

More and more couples are turning to divorce mediation as an alternative to hiring attorneys. There are many benefits to mediation, yet some couples have never heard of hiring a mediator. What can a mediator actually do? Does hiring a mediator offer any financial benefits? What about future disputes? How does a mediator address those? No matter how complicated or frustrating your divorce might be, a mediator can help guide you through all of your problems and help offer you reasonable solutions.

1. Mediators work with both parties

Unlike attorneys, a couple who is separating will hire just one mediator. The mediator will not “take sides” during discussions. If you and your partner choose to hire attorneys to handle your divorce, you’ll each have to get your own lawyer. This will double the amount of money that you spend. Additionally, each lawyer will be trying to get their client the best possible deal. This can cause further disputes and prolong the divorce process. A mediator will help facilitate discussion, meaning that the mediator’s goal is for you and your partner to find reasonable agreements that you can both live with.

2. Mediators are less costly than attorneys

While an attorney may cost several hundred dollars per hour, you can expect to pay your mediator between $100 and $300 per hour of consultation. Additionally, a mediator can typically help you resolve your divorce within 4-10 sessions. An attorney, on the other hand, might take over a year to resolve a divorce case.

3. Mediators are private

If you’re concerned about your privacy, there’s no doubt that hiring a mediator is the best way to go. Your mediator will sign a confidentiality agreement before you start discussing your divorce. This means that you won’t have to feel worried or afraid that your divorce will be part of any public record. What you, your ex-spouse, and your mediator discuss will remain private. This is especially important if you have a lot of assets to divide.

4. Mediators don’t dwell on the past

If you want to move forward, your mediator is going to help you accomplish just that. Instead of dealing with the same problem for the next 10 or 20 years, your mediator will help you completely resolve issues. If you’re ready to dissolve your marriage and actually move forward, your mediator will guide you through this process.

No matter how messy or difficult your divorce might be, a mediator understands what you’re going through. Instead of handling the problem for you, a mediator will help guide you and your ex-spouse as you communicate in a safe environment. Your mediator is a neutral party who wants to see the best possible outcome for each of you. While your mediator will offer helpful suggestions and ideas, he or she will also make sure that you and your former partner learn to communicate with each other.