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Experts urge parents to keep mediation in mind

When a person makes the difficult decision to end their marriage, their soon-to-be former spouse can respond in a multitude of ways upon receiving the news. Some might feel shocked or even angry at first, but later come to the logical -- albeit sad -- conclusion that this is probably the best course of action. Others might be unable to let go of this anger and gear up for a prolonged divorce battle, while still others might greet the news with relief and look forward to moving on with the next chapter of their lives.

As you can probably figure out, the way a divorce ultimately unfolds has a lot to do with how the spouses feel about the split. Accordingly, the spouse gearing up for a divorce battle will likely resort to the courtroom to settle their differences, while those who are more accepting of the situation will perhaps be willing to try an alternative to traditional divorce such as mediation.

For those unfamiliar with mediation, it is essentially where the former spouses agree to come together -- either with or without attorneys -- at a neutral location to address such important issues as child support, spousal maintenance, child custody and property division. Here, the mediation session is run by a neutral third party mediator who helps the parties maintain a productive dialogue and work together to reach mutually acceptable solutions.

While mediation can save couples both time and money, and help them preserve an amicable relationship going forward, experts urge them to remember that they can turn to mediation for more than just the initial divorce.

While a couple may have reached a solid agreement concerning child custody and visitation issues in the initial mediation, circumstances can change both suddenly and dramatically as the children grow or parental situations change. For example, a parent may have to relocate, or the children may be expressing interest in new activities or even schools that they want to attend.

Rather than letting these issues become contentious and emotionally draining for the children, parents can simply opt to return to mediation where they can redefine their priorities and once again work toward reaching mutually acceptable solutions with the help of a neutral third party.

According to experts, returning to mediation can help parents ensure that their goals are once again in harmony and prevent what was once an amicable relationship from souring.

Consider contacting an experienced family law attorney to learn more about mediation and other divorce-related options here in Texas.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Using mediation to keep your cool during divorce and beyond," Silvana Raso, August 27, 2013 

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