When many Texas couples divorce, they may think that duking it out in the courtroom is the best way to go. Increasingly, more and more couples are choosing mediation to split assets, decide child custody matters and start a new life without all the anger associated with a nasty court battle. However, if unprepared, a mediated divorce can quickly turn into a long, drawn-out litigated divorce in which the judge decides who gets what - and it's not always fair.
Mediation is a good choice for couples who are on good terms and want to resolve their divorce matters quickly and as painlessly as possible. However, many couples use mediation to bring up the past, which can cause the situation to heat up. That's why it is important to keep emotions in check. Look at divorce as a business transaction. The goal is the reach agreements with the other spouse as quickly as possible. Don't let your anger get in the way.
Reaching agreements quickly means having to make compromises. Don't expect to get everything you want. A divorce usually has no real winners. In order to resolve your issues and settle the divorce in a reasonable amount of time, be prepared to give up some things that you want during the negotiation process. Listening skills are very important here.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. You want to understand how everything will affect you in the long term. That's what your attorney is there for. If you don't understand any legal terminology or the legal aspects of an agreement, take a break and seek help. Remember, it's your future at stake.
A divorce can easily turn into a nasty battle, but by learning how to successfully negotiate during a mediation, you can walk away feeling better about yourself and ready to move on. There are many legal issues to navigate through in a divorce and it is always a good idea to understand your options and how they affect you.
The Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: How to Prepare for a Settlement Meeting" Carolyn Choi, Oct. 31, 2013