BS(me) 46, Two wonderful teens.
It can be the more affordable route, don't know about the less stressful. I don't think there is anything about the D process that is less stressful.
what is required to make it work
Two people that want to make it work. ie. if one person walks in and just wants it all their way or the highway, it's a waste of money. If both sides can listen to the mediator and hear what they say and agree, then it will go smoothly.
We hired a mediator. I had done my homework and knew the laws on the big issues. My XH just wanted it done to be with his AP. The mediator would bring up something, we would listen, and for the most part said ok to whatever the "norm" was. Custody was a sticking point, where I told the mediator and him to forget it. I wasn't going with 50/50 so it was pretty on paper when I knew he couldn't do 50/50 and I would then get less CS, but still all the work and expenses. It is ok to say I'm done talking about that now, move on. We will come back to it later. She brought up items I hadn't even thought of so that was helpful. My XH was also very agreeable for the most part.
Bottom line is, if you know your X can be reasonable and is motivated to get things done, mediation can be a big help to iron out a lot of the little things. If you know your X is going to walk in and say I want all my retirement, all my cash, no CS, No SS, I keep the house and she leaves with nothing and he won't budge...well, mediation isn't going to work.
He is no longer my best friend. Repeat until it sticks.
WH says marriage is over: May 15, 2009.
EA#2 July 20, 2009. Legally sep: Aug 16, 2009. DIVORCED!!!! Signed Nov 23, final Dec 24, 2010, adultery listed.