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When you got married in a Texas church, courthouse or other location, you no doubt expected to be with your spouse for a lifetime. Whether you’ve been together less than five years or more than a decade, if there are underlying issues in your marriage that are unresolved, it can do a lot of damage to your relationship. There are certain issues, in fact, that many spouses say were causal factors in their divorce.

Just because you experience one or more of these issues does not necessarily mean you will wind up filing for divorce. However, such issues are common among people who do.

Communication, intimacy and loyalty are important in a marriage

Perhaps you and your spouse have drifted apart over time and have found that you don’t have as much in common as you once did. It’s one thing to have different personalities but quite another to feel that your spouse is not supportive of you in your marriage. The following list shows issues that are often precursors to divorce:

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There are a variety of reasons for one spouse to be more stubborn than the other when divorce mediation begins.

The pro-mediation spouse may not know how to handle the problem but the mediator will know what to do.

Emotions play a role

Emotions come to the surface in one way or another during a divorce. Parties who choose mediation normally do so because it is a much calmer, more respectful way of ending a marriage and moving on as compared with litigation. In addition, couples appreciate maintaining control over the outcome instead of having to abide by the decisions of a judge. Still, mediation is a path to divorce, and one spouse may be more emotional, more stubborn and more inclined to fight the inevitable than the other.

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Parenting is undoubtedly both a rewarding and challenging experience in your life. When you decided to file for divorce, you knew from the start that it would have a significant impact on your children’s lives. Like many other parents who can relate to your circumstances, you were determined to cause the least amount of disruption possible, starting with creating a solid co-parenting agreement.

When you choose to mediate your divorce, you and your spouse agree to avoid litigation at all cost. This means that you must agree to peacefully discuss all child custody issues, including where your children will live, whether you will share physical and legal custody and other important matters. There are numerous other issues that you can incorporate into your co-parenting plan, however, to help your children cope with the changes in their lives with as little stress as possible.

Remember to write out terms for birthdays, holidays and special events

It’s common to focus on the priority issues when you’re mediating a child custody plan in a divorce. It’s also a good idea to include terms of agreement regarding where your children will spend their special events and milestone occasions, including holidays after your divorce. If you and your co-parent get along well, you might decide to share special occasions together so that your kids can be with both parents at the same time.

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An impending divorce brings major concerns and puts you on an emotional roller coaster.

If you and your spouse have decided to mediate your divorce, good planning and organization will keep you focused as you work toward creating a mutually satisfactory agreement.

Gather information

Mediation is a confidential, low-stress process that usually runs smoothly. However, you can help it along by gathering the information you need so as to be ready to work with your soon-to-be-ex on a settlement agreement. The list of documents you will need includes but is not limited to:

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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.

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If you worry about parenting with your ex-spouse after divorce, consider taking a cooperative approach. Collaborating in the face of a challenging relationship will support the well-being of your children in this situation.

Try these strategies to handle coparenting issues after your marriage ends.

Create a parenting plan

When you and your former spouse agree on a parenting plan, you can tailor the custody schedule to your family's needs. Once you have a court-approved plan in place, avoid conflict by sticking to its provisions regarding communication, holiday and vacation time, parenting time, and transportation to and from visits.

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You may have noticed signs that your marriage was in trouble. Then again, there may have been a particular string of events that had irreversible effects on your relationship. Either way, as you prepare to settle a divorce, it’s important to keep several issues in mind, especially finances. Many Texas households include spouses who both work full-time. When you transition to a single income lifestyle, it can present challenges.

Thinking ahead and careful planning can help you make sure you can provide for your needs as you move on in life. If you’re a parent, the importance of financial issues in divorce is intensified. Not only are you concerned about the ability to make ends meet for yourself, but your children’s well-being is a top priority.

Texas is a community property state

In addition to making child custody decisions and writing terms of agreement for a co-parenting plan, you and your spouse must also resolve property division issues to finalize your divorce. Texas is different than most other states in that property division proceedings operate under community property guidelines. This means you and your ex will split all marital property 50/50 in divorce.

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During your divorce, your children are likely to be your top priority. If you plan to share physical custody of your kids with your ex-spouse, you must pick a spot to exchange them at the end of your scheduled parenting time.

You and your ex-spouse may have some strong disagreements about where to hand off the kids. Fortunately, mediation is often a ready way to settle these disputes. Before beginning mediation, though, you may want to choose a few potential exchange locations.

A neutral hand-off site

While it may seem natural to exchange the kids at your home or your ex’s, doing so may cause unnecessary friction. When beginning the mediation process, you may need to convince your children’s co-parent to explore other hand-off sites. Picking a neutral location is usually smart.

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Your children might be observant, intelligent people, but they are not adults. No matter how much they might seem to understand a particular adult issue, they can only understand it with as much fullness as their age level and maturity allows. If you recently informed your children that you have filed for divorce, they might have said that they understand, but that doesn’t mean they understand it in the same way you do.

Like all good parents, you want what is best for your kids. No family has a perfect life, not even those with parents whose marriages last a lifetime. Rather than centering your focus on the fact that your divorce is happening, it’s helpful to keep several things in mind as you provide love and support to your children while you all adapt to a new lifestyle.

Direct correspondence with your ex is best

It’s understandable that you might not want to see your ex on a daily basis after you finalize your divorce. While you negotiate child custody issues and after you sign an agreement, however, it will still be necessary to correspond with each other because you are co-parents. Sadly, many Texas parents fall into a habit of using their children as messengers when they don’t want to talk to a co-parent.

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If you have chosen mediation over litigation for your divorce, you are far from alone. From saving money on legal costs to maintaining control over child custody, support and property division decisions, there are many reasons that couples opt for an out-of-court settlement instead of a drawn-out legal battle.

However, while mediation offers many benefits, the process may take work, patience and compromise on the part of both spouses.

Ensuring your mediator has all needed information and documentation well in advance is an important first step. Also important is preparing yourself, mentally and emotionally, to take a problem-solving approach rather than a combative one.

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When you’ve made a major decision, it might take weeks, even months, to implement it. If your decision involves filing for divorce, and especially if you have children, there will be numerous important issues to resolve before you can leave the past behind and move on in life. Divorce mediation is often a swifter process than litigating a divorce in a Texas court. In fact, saving time isn’t the only benefit of mediation.

Would you be surprised to learn that you can finalize your divorce without ever stepping foot inside a courtroom? Many people hesitate to learn more about mediation because they mistakenly believe it’s only used in business negotiations or think they will still have to go to court to settle their divorce.

Divorce mediation saves time and money

As mentioned earlier, if you want to settle your divorce as quickly as possible, mediation may be a better option than litigation. The last thing you need is to become entangled in a long, drawn-out court battle over issues you can resolve in a peaceful manner by agreeing to a few stipulations ahead of time.

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4 mistaken ideas about divorce mediation

Posted on in Divorce

If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you may dread the possibility of a contentious court battle.

Some say mediation is a great alternative but is it? Here are four mistaken ideas about divorce mediation.

The mediator takes sides

The mediator is a neutral party who cannot and will not take sides in a divorce. The divorcing couple has control over the mediation process, and the responsibilities of the mediator are to guide the parties in effective communication, to diffuse anger or emotional situations and to help them resolve sticking points.

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You might be one of many Texas residents who love the autumn season and anticipating a new holiday season ahead. You might also be one of many people who have decided to divorce and are worried about the holidays, particularly how your life-changing decision might affect your kids and whether you and your ex can negotiate a fair agreement in an amicable fashion. Like all good parents, you have your children’s best interests in mind.

Peacefully settling a divorce is often possible through mediation. You don’t even have to step foot inside a courtroom. Navigating the holidays after divorce, however, can indeed be challenging, especially during your first year. Keeping several things in mind can be helpful for you and your children.

The more detailed your co-parenting plan, the better

When you mediate a divorce, you and your spouse can incorporate any terms you want into your co-parenting plan. If your goal is to avoid high levels of stress during the holidays, you’ll want to make sure you plan ahead and get a lot of things in writing, such as where your children will spend each holiday or whether you and your ex will attend gatherings at the same time for the kids’ sake.

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3 ways to cope with the challenges of divorce

Posted on in Divorce

If you find yourself in the midst of a divorce from your partner, you likely feel overwhelmed about your future. It is normal to experience lots of emotions during your divorce, no matter if you are the one who initiated or on the receiving end.

To make this emotional process a little easier, you can follow a few tips to help you cope with your divorce.

Focus on your wellbeing

Try to maintain your normal routines including relaxing, exercising and eating healthily throughout this difficult time. Taking extra time to heal and re-energize will help reduce your stress levels and have a positive effect on your mental health. Avoid making major changes in your life so you do not become overwhelmed.

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Whether you’ve been married for five or 30 years, making a decision to file for divorce in a Texas court is an intensely personal, solemn issue. Especially if you’re a parent, you understand from the start that such a decision is going to disrupt your family’s life, although that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to ruin it.

The good news is that, with a strong support network in place, you can negotiate a fair agreement without even stepping foot inside a courtroom. There are several common mistakes you’ll want to avoid in order to accomplish this goal.

You do not need an attorney to obtain a divorce

If you’re under the impression that you must hire an attorney and go to court to obtain a divorce, it is simply not true. You and your spouse may wish to negotiate the terms of your own settlement, and you are allowed to do so. There are mediation service providers who can assist you as you initiate discussion sessions to devise a child custody plan or to talk about property division or alimony issues. Negotiating a settlement outside a courtroom is typically less expensive and takes less time than litigation.

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If you are considering a divorce, you may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of a potentially lengthy, expensive and emotionally draining trial process. In addition to concerns about separating property and finances, you may worry that a court order will prevent you from maintaining a close relationship with your children.

Even if you do not agree with your spouse about everything, mediation may offer a healthier, cost-effective way to sort out your differences while maintaining control over important financial and family decisions.

1. A stronger financial future

From court costs to attorney fees, the expenses associated with a litigated divorce can be steep. Mediation may offer an economical alternative. Another financial benefit of mediation is the fact that you and your spouse can make your own choices about how to divide property and other assets.

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When you're a Texas parent who is in the process of settling a divorce, your children's well-being is undoubtedly a top priority. This is also a main concern of the court as well. You simply can't be too thorough when it comes to writing out terms of agreement for your child custody and co-parenting plan.

The back-to-school season is a time when many parents who are currently navigating or have recently finalized a divorce may encounter challenges in their co-parenting plan. This is one of many reasons it's so important for you to build a strong support network from the start. That way, if a problem arises, you do not have to handle it alone.

Keep parental conflict regarding child custody at bay

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If you were to conduct a survey of the financial statuses of Texas residents, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who has not encountered financial challenges at some point in life. In fact, you'd likely be able to relate to one or more stories of having to pinch pennies or cut superfluous spending to make ends meet along the way.

Even if you're in a comfortable financial position at this time, it doesn't necessarily mean you don't worry about money issues. Especially if a specific life event is going to involve new expenses, you'll want to thoroughly review all available options to make well-informed decisions. Divorce is one such issue that can land you in financial distress if you're not careful.

Divorce is not one-size-fits-all

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In your daily life in Texas, do people often tell you that you're persuasive? Do your peers come to you with their problems because they trust your advice and have confidence in your problem-solving skills? Maybe you focused your career on helping others troubleshoot their problems.

Then again, you might consider yourself someone who becomes flustered or nervous when trying to discuss a disagreement with another person in order to resolve the issue. Maybe you feel intimidated when someone tries to convince you that his or her idea is best. Either way, if you're considering divorce mediation as a means to achieve settlement, you'll want to brush up on your negotiation skills.

Effective tools that are useful for mediation negotiations

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Especially if you were married 10 or more years, not living with your spouse anymore may take some getting used to. Your children, in particular, may encounter challenges adapting to a new lifestyle where their parents live in separate households. Divorce isn't easy, but it doesn't necessarily have to ruin your kids' lives. By agreeing to mediate your divorce instead of litigating in a Texas courtroom, you're agreeing to try to settle your differences and design a child custody plan built on cooperation.

When your children see that you and your ex are willing to work together as a parenting team, they may be less worried about their future and better able to come to terms with the changes in their lives. Figuring out what exact terms to incorporate into your co-parenting plan can be challenging, however.

Stipulations help clarify terms

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