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Divorce mediation may prevent big problems for Spokane couples

Spokane residents have probably heard horror stories about divorces that drag on and on and on. Although these are by no means representative of all divorces, occasionally a particularly long, drawn out divorce will make headlines. One high-profile couple seems to have reached the end of an extended divorce process.

Reality television star Khloe Kardashian and retired National Basketball Association star Lamar Odom have reportedly approved the agreement to end their marriage after about three years of separation. The couple, who had been married for four years, separated in 2013, but as of last week had not finalized a divorce. Odom's alleged problems with drugs reportedly put a strain on the marriage, leading to the split.

Not all marriages take this long to dissolve, of course. How can couples in Spokane seek to avoid their divorces becoming similarly drawn out? It isn't always possible to avoid this kind of tumult and contention, but many couples have had success using divorce mediation. Mediation is most useful when it is used to prevent an uncontested divorce from developing into a contested divorce.

Mediation is a voluntary process where spouses use the services of a professionally trained counselor to work out the specifics of their marriage dissolution. Ideally, a couple will be able to agree to a separation agreement and parenting plan themselves without needing the intervention of a judge to impose these conditions on the couple.

A leading lawyers' association estimates that 70 to 80 percent of couples using mediation have good outcomes, with high rates of agreement and compliance. Although using mediation is no guarantee of a good outcome, many couples have been satisfied with the process.

Source: NYDailyNews.com, "Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom officially sign paperwork for divorce," Peter Sblendorio, Oct. 23, 2016

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