For Best Results, Come Prepared for Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation, while a highly under-utilized, often boring, and emotionally draining tool, can provide tremendous assistance in a Dallas divorce, and often eliminates the need for extensive court proceedings. Because of this, our divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Clark always recommend divorce mediation to our clients, especially if they are looking to save time and money in the process. If you and your spouse are interested in divorce mediation, contact the Dallas divorce attorneys at our family law firm to learn more about what the process entails and how our legal representatives are here to help you.

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is the process of sitting down with a neutral third party and negotiating a divorce settlement that is in the best interests of you, your former spouse, and most importantly, your children. The neutral third party is there to help you work through and resolve your issues so that you can dissolve your marriage in as amicable and cost-effective way as possible. Typically, a divorce mediator will assist you in resolving issues such as:

  • The distribution of property;
  • Child custody and parent time;
  • Child support and/or spousal maintenance;
  • Retirement; and
  • Taxes.

The goal of mediation is to help the couple reach an agreement on the above issues so as to avoid intense litigation, which can become costly and time-consuming.

How to Make Divorce Mediation a Success

In order for divorce mediation to be successful, there are a few pointers that our Dallas divorce attorneys recommend employing, the most helpful of which is to come prepared. The following is a list of ways that you can prepare yourself for mediation, and therefore, help to make it a success:

  • Maintain realistic expectations. Divorce is difficult no matter which way you look at it, even if you go through mediation first. Prior to mediation, review the issues to be resolved and form a realistic picture of what a fair outcome might look like. Mediation only works if you and your former spouse can come to an agreement, so it would not be beneficial to anyone if you approach the situation with unrealistic expectations.
  • Understand that nobody walks away with 100%. This goes hand-in-hand with maintaining realistic expectations, but because so many people expect to receive 100% of assets, or even child custody, we feel that this deserves its own line item. Mediation is a place in which disagreements are resolved, and if your former spouse was willing to give you 100% of something, there would be no need for mediation. Because you are in mediation, expect to compromise on all or most issues brought up.
  • Make a list of your issues. It is not reasonable to expect you to approach mediation with a desired outcome for every issue that you have, but it can help to write down every point of contention between you and your former spouse so that the two of you can remain on track throughout the process and not diverge into topics that really cannot be settled by mediation techniques.
  • Organize your financial documents. Finances are going to be a huge part of what you discuss in mediation, as under the Texas Family Code, Sec. 3.003, “property possessed by either spouse during or on the dissolution of marriage is presumed to be community property.” Furthermore, “The degree of proof necessary to establish that property is separate property is clear and convincing evidence.” In order to walk away with the amount of money you are entitled to, it would be in your best interests to come to mediation armed with proof in the form of hard financial documents.
  • Be prepared to take notes. Throughout the day, take notes about everything discussed during mediation and what agreements are reached. Compare the final Mediation Settlement Agreement (M.S.A.) to your notes and to your list of things to be discussed so that you can be sure that nothing essential was left out of the agreement.

Consult a Dallas Divorce Attorney

Divorce mediation is only as successful as you make it. However, when done right, divorce mediation can significantly reduce the costs of your Dallas divorce, and cut the amount of time it normally takes to complete the process in half. To learn more about how divorce mediation can help you, consult the family law attorneys at the Clark Law Group. Contact our firm at (469) 906-2266 to schedule your private consultation today.

(image courtesy of Nanette)

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