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Can you be in the same room? Divorce mediation could be for you

Some Texas couples simply cannot sit in the same room together without an argument erupting as they go through the divorce process. They rely on the court to make decisions for them that affect their individual futures. If you and your spouse can sit in the same room together, you might consider using divorce mediation, which allows you to create your own settlement.

You might find yourself more satisfied with the results of the process if you can tailor your settlement to your family's particular needs and desires. In addition, since the two of you made the decisions together, you will more than likely feel more compelled to comply with the terms of the agreement.

Do we have to agree on everything to use mediation?

No. All you need is willingness to cooperate with each other and compromise on some issues in order to achieve a fair and equitable settlement. No one receives everything he or she wants from a divorce and going to court isn't going to change that. In fact, mediation provides a greater possibility of getting closer to everything you want than you would if you went to court since you and your spouse can "think outside the box" when it comes to the resolution of your issues. 

The mediator can meet with each of you to determine where you want to go in terms of settlement. He or she has the freedom to suggest unique solutions to your issues that a judge or arbitrator would not. The mediator does not make the final decision, however; that remains up to you and your spouse.

Mediation isn't as stressful

Without a doubt, divorce creates unusual stresses in the lives of you and your family. The contentious atmosphere of a courtroom only adds to that stress and often makes the situation even more untenable. Mediation provides a more relaxed atmosphere as it helps you and your soon-to-be former spouse forge a new relationship that could ultimately benefit you and your children, if any, post-divorce.

Mediation often costs less

Long, drawn out court battles often cost tens of thousands of dollars -- and more. The more adversarial the couple becomes, the more the process costs. Since mediation encourages the parties to work together, the costs often remain reasonable. According to the American Bar Association, mediation costs often come in between 40 and 60 percent less than the traditional divorce litigation.

You won't be alone

Just because you choose mediation does not mean that the only people in the room are you, your spouse and the mediator. Each of you should still have an attorney present. In addition, you might require the services of a third party, such as an appraiser, in order to make informed decisions as you move through the process.

The attorney you choose should support and perhaps encourage your decision to use mediation. Even so, nearly every family attorney also knows that preparation for trial remains essential until you sign on the dotted line. Mediation is not binding, which means you can go to court if you and your spouse remain deadlocked on a settlement. Hopefully, though, you and your spouse can come to an agreement with which you are both satisfied.

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