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You and your spouse have decided to call it quits, and you could not feel more relieved. You want to get on with your own life as quickly as possible. But you are worried that the process of going to divorce court will slow you down and give you an unwanted headache to boot.

The good news? You do not have to go to trial to complete the divorce process in Texas. Instead, you can go through the more amicable divorce mediation process. Here is a rundown on how the mediation process works from start to finish.

First steps

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When you decided that you would rather move on in life without your spouse rather than stay in an unhappy relationship, you may have worried about how your decision would affect your children's lives. Divorce isn't easy, and the process of resolving child custody issues, financial issues and other important matters can cause a lot of stress. Like all good Texas parents, you want what's best for your kids.

You've probably heard horror stories about long, contentious court battles that have greatly disrupted children's lives and caused them a tremendous amount of stress. It doesn't necessarily have to be that way, however, especially if you and your spouse are willing to compromise and cooperate for your kids' sakes.

Divorce mediation might be a viable option

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When you mediated your divorce, you may have been a bit anxious or worried about your children's ability to cope with the significant changes the situation would be prompting in their lives. You love your kids more than anything in the world, and you only want what is best for them. Most mediators agree that children fare best if they continue to spend ample time with both parents after divorce.

As a parent, you may encounter several challenges as you and your kids adapt to a new lifestyle and search for your new "normal" together. It's understandable that you might feel sad or frustrated, for instance, coming home from work and not having the kids there to spend the evening together. With a positive attitude and a strong support network, you can be proactive to maintain a close bond with your children.

Practical tips for non-custodial parents

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The day you got married, it was unlikely that you imagined you would one day be getting divorced. In fact, like many Texas spouses, you may have been with your partner for 10 years or more and had several children before determining that your relationship was not working out as you'd hoped it might. Like all good parents, your kids are your top priority, which is why you want to find a way to settle your divorce as swiftly and painlessly as possible.

While you may no longer want to be married to your spouse, you understand that, as parents, you'll always have a connection in life. Parents in similar situations, who want to cut ties as spouses but avoid confrontation for the sake of their children, often choose divorce mediation instead of going to court.

Parents who mediate their divorce cite benefits

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If your ultimate goal is to divorce in as swift and amicable a fashion as possible, then avoiding litigation might also be a top priority of yours. Thankfully, there are alternative options in Texas, such as divorce mediation, that can help you resolve your differences and execute a fair and agreeable plan, especially if you have children.

That's not to say that you're guaranteed to succeed if you choose to go the mediation route. There are certain pitfalls or downsides that could cause obstacles or delays toward your settlement. However, if you know how to avoid such problems ahead of time, you increase your chances for success.

Mediation is meant to be neutral

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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.

Divorce need not always be so nasty

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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.

A look at divorce mediation

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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.

Be as prepared as possible

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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.

What is a divorce diet?

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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.

Do you know what you need to know?

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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.

The benefits can be persuasive

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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.

The potential pitfalls of mediation

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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.

What can you get out of mediation?

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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.

When cheating does irreparable damage

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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?

Not as bad as you think

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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.

Talk to someone

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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?

It can help ease the strain on your children

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Good preparation is essential for any worthwhile endeavor, and divorce mediation is no exception.

Pay particular attention to the following four areas to help make the mediation process go as smoothly as possible.

Discuss mediation with your spouse

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Welcome To Our Blog

Posted on in Firm News

We established this blog to share stories and information about topics relevant to our practice. Our intent is to regularly provide posts highlighting legal issues of local, state and national interest that we think you will find interesting. Check back later for updates.

Going through the divorce process can weigh you down. Considering everything at stake, it can become an overwhelming prospect to get through.

Mediation is one way that couples can get through a split with more of a say in what their post-divorce life will look like. Avoiding court may benefit couples in many ways. Creating a parenting plan in this environment can give you a better handle on co-parenting successfully once the process ends.

The role of a mediator

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