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Is Mediation Right For You?

One of the most difficult things to do during a divorce is to disregard the urgings of well-meaning friends and family to get the toughest, meanest, lawyer around, and to instead consider mediation. Nearly everyone has something to say about how to achieve a divorce. However, because each divorce is unique, well-meaning people can do a great disservice by giving advice that, in many cases,, is based on their own divorce experience or stories heard about the divorce of others. Dignity has a far better chance of surviving when a divorcing couple can keep the influences of others to a minimum and focus on how they want their divorce to proceed. The essence of mediation is shared decision-making. For mediation to be effective, both parties must be willing and able to exercise decision-making power.

Both spouses must be willing to set aside old patterns of decision-making and, even if this is a new approach for them, become informed and willing to share the decision-making power in a balanced and equitable way.

For some this means learning to be patient while the other spouse becomes informed enough to be part of the decision-making process. For others, it means coming to accept the fact that they must take responsibility for their future and decrease their dependence on their former spouse.

In divorce, as in other areas of life, how individuals act is a reflection of their values. Mediation enables the expression of the highest of human values: respect, caring, acceptance, forgiveness, understanding, openness, gentleness, compassion. All of these and more can be expressed during divorce, even in the presence of anger, fear, and pain. Keep in mind that when friends urge you to get "a good lawyer" or "take everything you can get," their intentions may be good, but the advice may be bad. Take time to examine with them why they suggest this approach. Then quietly look inside yourself to discover what you want, both now and in the future. It is your marriage, your divorce, your future.


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In Texas most cases, alimony is limited to three years because it is supposed to be temporary. Alimony is only awarded if a spouse who has been married for at least 10 years cannot support herself or himself, or if there is domestic violence and the violent spouse is convicted during the divorce case. This being said, marital fault can be considered when the court determines an alimony award and this is not limited to just the spouse who may or may not be the obligor (payor).
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