Should You Mediate Your Divorce? 6 Important Factors to Consider
Among the many struggles and confrontations during a marriage separation, it’s understandable that divorce mediation might not be top of your mind. But there’s definitely a reason for you to get knowledgeable on this topic—there’s a reason why when people talk about their divorces, the stories are usually ugly. The nightmares often range from infidelity, regrets of missing a prenuptial agreement in Texas, hiding assets in a divorce to custody disagreements and unfair alimony arrangements. Unfortunately, divorces don’t typically bring out the best in us.
That said, peaceful divorces are possible. Contrary to popular belief, divorce doesn’t have to be a battle. Some couples choose to end their divorce in mediation and finalize their separation on agreeable terms. By choosing to mediate your divorce and keep it out of court, you can potentially save yourself a lot of time, money and heartache. But not every divorce is a good candidate for mediation.
How can you know if mediation is the right option for your divorce? One of the keys is knowing what happens and what to expect during divorce mediation. Explore the factors you’ll need to consider before making a final decision.
Do Both of You Want the Divorce?
Your first taste of what to expect during divorce mediation may actually begin before the mediation process even starts. Though mutual divorces can still potentially get ugly, agreeing that the marriage needs to end is a strong first step towards a peaceful, mediated separation. When a divorce is one-sided, it’s unlikely that the reluctant spouse will agree to reasonable terms. In which case, fighting things out in court can actually be the best option.
But if you and your spouse do agree that it’s time for divorce, consider taking things one step further by discussing the terms and conditions that you can live with. Sometimes, you can make the process smoother by patiently helping each other know what to expect during divorce mediation. In other words, don’t rush into mediation headfirst—minds can change along the way, which can make things can go sour quickly. Give everything some time and make sure that the agreement sticks.
Would You Prefer to Stay Friends with Your Ex?
This factor is more important than it may seem. In fact, it may set the entire tone for what happens during divorce mediation. If you would prefer to remain friendly with your ex, fighting their requests and dragging out the divorce will not do you any favors. Negotiating and mediating agreeable terms will help you and your spouse prepare for divorce mediation, separate on better terms and improve your odds at future friendship.
Are Kids in the Picture?
For most couples, children are the most difficult factor in a divorce. While you may feel compelled to fight tooth and nail over your custody agreement, your children would probably prefer that you come to a balanced agreement. While getting sole custody in Texas is possible, some nasty and drawn out divorces can irreversibly damage a child’s image of one parent or even both.
Perhaps surprisingly, learning how to win a child custody case involves the right mix of putting the child’s needs first and working together with your spouse. For example, partnering to make a joint custody visitation schedule might actually work out better for your child, your spouse and you. If your soon-to-be-ex is a suitable parent and willing to compromise, it’s typically in everyone’s best interest to pursue mediation.
Are You Being Lied to About Finances?
Part of knowing what to expect during a divorce mediation lies in knowing the full scope of your spouse’s situation. If you have reason to believe that your spouse is hiding assets from you, you should not agree to mediate without full disclosure of their finances.
Mediating with a lying spouse is a great way to end up in an unfair setup, deprived of the resources you legally deserve. While mediation is usually the easier option, it isn’t always the way to go.
Was Your Relationship Abusive?
It’s sad but true—emotionally and physically abusive relationships can’t suddenly turn fair in mediation. If your partner has been hurting you, it is highly unlikely that either of you will be able to maintain composure and fight fair during mediation. Regardless of what led to your divorce, always consider any history of abuse and opt for a trial—you’ve already had to fight hard enough, now it’s time to let someone else fight for you.
Even in Mediation, Always Hire a Divorce Attorney
There’s no reason to go through the process alone—even if you opt for mediation. Having a skilled Houston divorce lawyer on your side will help you understand the divorce mediation process and avoid surprises. For example, will you know what to bring to a divorce mediation, or will you know which questions to ask a divorce mediator? It’s crucial to have an experienced attorney 100% on your side to review the terms, provide counsel and help guide you towards the fairest possible outcome.
Taly Thiessen at the Thiessen Law Firm is one of Houston’s finest divorce and mediation attorneys. Mixing emotional intelligence with sharp battle strategies, Taly helps her clients receive only the fairest deals during their mediation. If you and your spouse are ready to take the next step, contact Taly Thiessen and the Thiessen Law Firm today to discuss your mediation options.