Divorce . . .  images of heated courtroom battles: lawyers cutting deals and bargaining away the things that matter most. Unreasonable judges. Will divorce tear your life apart?

The truth?  Divorce is often a painful transition, but it also may be a great burden finally lifted; it may also be the loss of a dream and full of bottomless grief. Divorce can be costly: financially, emotionally, mentally and even spiritually. You will discover the best and the worst parts of yourself when under this strain.

Money, property, and parenting responsibilities are the key issues that are reconfigured to create a new normal following divorce. The process requires time, emotional perseverance, and legal expertise to help make the best decisions amidst a pivotal life change.

Through mediation, couples can avoid additional conflict and preserve a peaceful transition to that next stage of life. Mediation is an affordable and gentle way to end a partnership, without a courtroom or lawyers posturing in front of a judge. I have successfully guided numerous couples through this process with honesty, straightforwardness, and a sense of honor that allows healing for both spouses.

So how exactly does mediated divorce work?

• Rather than each spouse hiring an attorney, couples hire me as their mediator. You may also hire a separate lawyer to advise you independently of the mediation process.

• As a neutral party, with courtroom and litigation experience, I work with both spouses and facilitate the divorce.

• In the initial meeting we review your assets, property, support issues, if any, and a parenting plan if you have children.

• Couples who are able to confer and work on their own without my assistance conclude the process more quickly, and then return to mediation to formalize their agreement.

• The divorcing couple holds the power over final resolution, not a judge or the lawyers.

• When all issues are resolved, I draft the divorce agreement, and the couple review and sign.

• Our office also does the court filing for you which simplifies the process. The divorce is final without appearing in court or ever stepping foot in the courthouse!

Is mediation right for you? If you seek the highest good for your family, and your intention is one of amiable resolution, mediation may be the right process for you.

Bob Good is an Ashland attorney specializing in divorce mediation. With more than 25 years of experience, Bob emphasizes solution-oriented discussions and works with couples to reach a peaceful and affordable resolution of all of the issues at stake in the divorce.