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Implicit and explicit biases may affect mediation

 Posted on February 11, 2021 in Divorce

When you decide to file for divorce in Texas, you must resolve numerous issues to achieve a fair settlement. Especially if you have children, you may encounter challenges if you and your ex disagree about certain matters, such as custody or property division. The fact that you want to mediate your divorce rather than litigate means you must be willing to cooperate and compromise to accomplish your goals.

The problem is that certain issues may affect mediation sessions without your necessarily being aware of it. For instance, if you have an implicit or explicit bias that pertains to a specific issue, that bias may influence your while you’re discussing the topic during a mediation session.

Most people have implicit biases without realizing it

If you have an implicit bias against something or someone, it exists in your subconscious mind and may affect your words or actions without you being aware of it. Perhaps, you have an implicit bias against people who pay child support that makes you generalize and suspect that most people try to get away with paying as low an amount as possible.

If you’re unaware that you have such a bias, it might impede your ability to discuss child support issues because you might automatically suspect that your ex is going to try to beat the system. Other types of implicit bias may have to do with social conditioning and issues pertaining to race, gender, financial status, education and other topics.

Learn how to overcome implicit bias issues before mediation begins

There are tests available online that you can take to determine if you have a particular implicit bias. There are several helpful things you can do to help you overcome a bias so that you can peacefully negotiate the issues of your divorce.

For instance, it’s always a good idea to try to view each issue from your ex’s perspective and to view him or her as a unique individual rather than part of a generalized group (I.e., divorced parents). It’s also important to be mindful and purposeful when discussing child custody, property division or other issues. Avoid making assumptions about or stereotyping your ex.

Set specific goals and work toward them as a team

Divorce isn’t easy, but it doesn’t necessarily have to lead to a contentious court battle, either. If you and your ex are willing to participate in mediation, you can agree to work together to find common ground and accomplish a fair settlement in a peaceful manner.

An implicit bias may unconsciously affect your attitude. Such biases are not uncommon and may be in direct contradiction to your chosen belief system. It pays to learn more about such issues before mediation sessions begin. Learning how to overcome an implicit bias may be a key factor toward successful divorce mediation.

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