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Sharon Easley
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Plano Divorce Mediation Blog

Why you might think divorce mediation is the best choice

Whether you and your spouse have been married 10, 20 or more years, if issues have come between you that you've determined you cannot resolve, you might be in the process of considering your options for divorce. If so, you're definitely not alone in your discernment, as many Texas residents are likely navigating similar circumstances at this time.

It's good to know there are numerous options when it comes to settling what you need to settle and laying the groundwork to move on in life in separate directions from each other. If you have children, their well-being is undoubtedly one of your highest priorities. Their best interests may greatly influence the decisions you make regarding how to obtain an official settlement.

When is divorce mediation not the best choice?

As you embark on the road to divorce, you wonder how difficult the journey will be. Will you and your future ex remain at odds at every turn? Or is it possible for the both of you to find common ground and thus make the journey as smooth as possible?

The reality is divorce doesn't have to be an uphill battle with your future ex. By choosing mediation, you and the other party could have a relatively amicable divorce process rather than a hostile one. However, mediation is not expedient in every situation. Let's look at what mediation is and when mediation may not be the best option for you in Texas.

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?

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