Whether you’ve been married for five or 30 years, making a decision to file for divorce in a Texas court is an intensely personal, solemn issue. Especially if you’re a parent, you understand from the start that such a decision is going to disrupt your family’s life, although that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to ruin it.
The good news is that, with a strong support network in place, you can negotiate a fair agreement without even stepping foot inside a courtroom. There are several common mistakes you’ll want to avoid in order to accomplish this goal.
You do not need an attorney to obtain a divorce
If you’re under the impression that you must hire an attorney and go to court to obtain a divorce, it is simply not true. You and your spouse may wish to negotiate the terms of your own settlement, and you are allowed to do so. There are mediation service providers who can assist you as you initiate discussion sessions to devise a child custody plan or to talk about property division or alimony issues. Negotiating a settlement outside a courtroom is typically less expensive and takes less time than litigation.
There’s such a thing as being too fair in divorce
Avoid being overly fair during negotiations to the point of putting your own needs and goals on a back burner. The ultimate goal of mediation is to work out an equitable agreement, which basically means you and your ex are satisfied with the terms. Such terms, however, do not have to be 100% fair or equal.
If you approach divorce as a confrontation and fight over every issue, it may not only take months to achieve a settlement, you’ll likely experience high levels of stress in the process. Thinking of your sessions as a business transaction instead may help you negotiate fair enough terms that protect your interests but avoid long, drawn-out legal battles.
Choose assertiveness over aggression
There’s a big difference between being assertive and aggressive. Many divorce issues evoke strong emotions on both sides. However, if you show up at negotiation sessions looking as though you’re ready to fight, your ex might feel threatened, which may spark defensiveness or confrontation.
Remember that mediation sessions enable you to peacefully discuss any and all issues that are relevant to your divorce while avoiding confrontation and litigation. It’s OK to disagree, and you can resolve your disagreements without arguing or attacking each other.