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Weighing the benefits and disadvantages of an uncontested divorce

A court process can be time-consuming and stressful, and many divorcing couples can find mediation easier as well as cost-effective.
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    January 23, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Couples who are getting divorced in Austin are most likely preparing for a long, exhausting battle. There are many issues common to most divorcing couples that can be difficult to get through, especially when children are involved. Joint custody, child support, alimony and property division are just a few of the matters that will need to be sorted out. Couples preparing to divorce should weigh their options to decide whether a mediated, uncontested divorce is right for them, or if their interests would best be served by taking the matter to court.

A court process can be time-consuming and stressful, and many divorcing couples can find mediation easier as well as cost-effective. Since a mediated divorce isn't for everyone, it's important to understand how the process works before making a decision.

How the mediation process can be beneficial

The American Bar Association defines a mediated divorce as a process during which a neutral third party, usually a trained mediator or a divorce attorney with mediating experience, helps a couple come to agreeable resolutions with their divorce issues. If both spouses are willing to set aside conflict and cooperate in a respectful conversation, mediation can be beneficial for both sides.

If they wish, each spouse can have their attorneys present, although this isn't necessary. An attorney can review the terms or recommend changes before divorce agreements are signed.

Preparing for a mediated divorce

Depending on how prepared each party is, and how cooperative they are during the process, mediation can finish quickly or may take several sessions of an hour or so each. Each spouse should gather together important paperwork, such as asset information, proof of income, financial records and retirement accounts. Each spouse should have an idea of how they want child custody and support to be figured. An advance plan is helpful, but it's important to realize that plans can change during the mediation process.

A mediator may wish to diffuse tension by speaking to each spouse separately. When both parties are will to cooperate, keep an open mind and treat each other with respect, mediation has the benefits of being faster than a contested divorce. There is also the advantage of an individually-tailored divorce plan that's usually more preferable than a predetermined court decision. The Examiner says a successful mediation can make a divorce flow more harmoniously.

When mediation isn't a good idea

According to Hamline University, the following factors may make a mediated divorce difficult or impossible:
- If either spouse or children experienced verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse during the marriage.
- If either spouse doesn't feel safe during the mediation process.
- If one person is trying to cause the other one emotional pain or wishes to continue the conflict.
- If drug or alcohol abuse is a problem.
- If one or both spouses can't be trusted to be fair or honest during mediation.

Many people get divorced every year in Texas; according to the U.S. Census, there were over 76,000 divorces in the state in 2009 alone. When there are so many impacted by the emotional and financial effects of divorce, an experienced divorce attorney can be extremely beneficial. Whether you're considering mediation, or if you believe you may need to go to court, it's important to consult with a divorce attorney to protect your interests.

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