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Sharon Easley
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Plano Divorce Mediation Blog

What skills do you most need for successful mediation?

Perhaps, in your youth, you were known as a skilled negotiator. Whether it was bartering for the last slice of pizza or convincing your friends where to hang out in your Texas town on a Friday night, maybe you had a special knack for getting your way. On the other hand, you might have been the one who always gave in because you'd rather keep the peace than try to sway people in your favor. Fast forward to adult life and preparing for divorce.

The good news is that it's often possible to settle a divorce without ever going to court. However, when you choose mediation over litigation, you should understand from the get-go that there will be a good bit of negotiation involved. Brushing up on such skills ahead of time will help you accomplish your goals.

Divorce: Keep this in mind to minimize stress

Certain situations in life can become all-consuming. Maybe you are going through something at work, your boss is being demanding, you and your co-workers are under the gun, and you know your job might be at risk if you don't finish the project on time. When the stakes are high, you might start thinking about work 24/7 and have trouble remembering something or even forget to eat or drink water during the day. A Texas divorce can be like this, too.

Especially, if you're a parent, your intentions might be good -- you really just want to finalize a settlement as swiftly as possible, leave the past behind and move on in life with your kids. If you and your spouse disagree on important issues, such as child custody or property division, the process might take a lot longer and become highly stressful. That's why it's important to consider ways to keep stress to a minimum as you resolve your disagreements.

Preparing now can set you up for strong negotiations later

If you are planning to end your marriage at some point in the future, you know a lot is at stake. Your finances may only be one of the many things you have concerns about, but you would be wise to think now about things you can do that will give you a stronger place from which you can negotiate later. Preparation is a key component to a reasonable divorce order. 

You do not have to go to court to divorce. In fact, many Texas couples choose mediation and other out-of-court solutions to resolve their divorce concerns. This is a valid way to save time and money, but you can still tenaciously defend your future interests throughout this process. It can be helpful to start thinking about things you can do now that will benefit you when it's time to move forward.

Convincing your spouse to use divorce mediation

January is the month when many think about new beginnings and fresh starts. You may be one of those who will be cleaning out closets, emptying the attic and purging the garage in the weeks to come to symbolically rid yourself of the clutter of the previous year. However, you may have a more practical reason for clearing out the things you no longer need or use.

If you are planning to file for divorce in the near future, you may be taking steps to organize and simplify your life before you move forward with your plans. Perhaps you believe this is one way to make the process smoother and less stressful. You may also consider suggesting to your spouse that you use mediation as your method of divorce. This may be a challenge, especially if your spouse is unhappy about your decision to end the marriage.

It's important to understand the potential downsides of mediation

A Texas couple who agrees to remain out of the courtroom during their divorce deserves congratulation. Taking this step opens up the possibility of creating a settlement that benefits everyone involved, especially if there are children involved.

However, attempting to reach an agreement alone could end up costing more than it would to have the assistance of a mediator. Using divorce mediation as a tool to resolve the issues you face in your divorce could help ensure that you reach an agreement with which you can live well into the future. However, before you head down this road, it's important to understand there are some potential downsides to contend with first.

Should you try child custody mediation? Would it work for you?

A common misconception about any form of family law mediation is that the parties have to get along in order for it to succeed. Fortunately, that isn't necessarily the case. As long as you and the other parent want to create your own child custody agreement and parenting plan outside of the courtroom, mediation remains a viable option.

Like other Texas parents, you love your children. For this reason, you are probably wondering whether child custody mediation will work for you. If you consider the benefits you could reap from the process, you may find it more of an attractive option.

Does your counselor already know your marriage is over?

If you and your spouse are usually able to work through your differences calmly, or at least agree to disagree, you may have opted to try marriage counseling when your relationship began to deteriorate. Working with a Texas counselor may help you see your issues from a different perspective, and this can be a good way to resolve stubborn conflicts.

Unfortunately, marriage counseling is not the cure-all for every couple. As much as you may have hoped to work out your differences and preserve your marriage, you may recognize some of the signs counselors see that often indicate the marriage cannot be saved.

How can you tell if mediation isn't going well?

If you and your spouse have decided to go through mediation instead of handling your divorce through litigation, congratulations. You have chosen a method of divorce that is statistically more positive, civil and mutually agreeable than traditional divorce in a courtroom. However, with little or no experience in this type of law, you may understandably have many questions about what to expect.

As much as you hope to maintain your dignity and arrive at a reasonable and fair settlement, you may worry that your current relationship with your spouse makes it more likely that your mediation sessions will end in nonproductive bickering. But does this mean that mediation is failing? How can you tell if the process is not working, and when might it be time to give up and head to court after all?

How to care for your mental health in a divorce

A divorce is one of the most stressful events a person can go through. All that stress can harm a person's health, as chronic stress has links to weight gain, depression, insomnia and high blood pressure. 

You cannot avoid stress entirely in your life, but you can take steps to make sure it does not overpower you. Even a relatively amicable divorce can lead to a certain amount of stress, which is why you need to pursue certain actions throughout the process to make sure you get through it all right. 

Is it beneficial to stay friendly with an ex, post-divorce?

Depending on the circumstances preceding your divorce, you may have an interest in staying friends with your ex in the aftermath. If you believe maintaining at least some sort of amicable relationship with this person is a possibility, though, you may find that doing so can benefit you as you move forward; particularly if the two of you plan to co-parent together.

Just how can staying friendly with your former spouse potentially benefit as you navigate your life, post-divorce?

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