What it means to be a family has changed over the years. In most households here in Texas and elsewhere, strict gender roles no longer exist. Blended families exist all over the country, and many of them thrive.
Because of these and other societal changes, the way that people divorce has changed as well. Numerous couples decide to work together to reach a settlement on their own rather than engage in litigation. Granted, in some instances, going to court is necessary, but when possible, many couples take the opportunity to take another path.
Why avoid litigation?
The traditional courtroom divorce tends to automatically pit you against your future former spouse. This situation does nothing to foster cooperation and compromise. When you go through this system with children, you may find that you experience difficulties co-parenting. The prevailing theory is that one party must "win," which could carry over into how you parent post-divorce.
Parents today put more emphasis on making sure their children make it through the divorce process as unscathed as possible. The problem is that the stress, contention and emotional toll of going to court don't get you to that goal. Outside of the emotional issues, litigation often takes longer, costs more and results in another person making decisions that impact your life. Like most others, you may not receive the satisfaction from your experience that you deserve.
Why try mediation?
On the other hand, you and your spouse could choose to avoid the courtroom and look into mediation. This method of divorce, which has gained popularity in recent years, fosters the compromise and cooperation that litigation lacks. Instead of arguing and "preparing for battle," you will work together to reach a settlement that works best for your family. You can think outside the box and come up with solutions that allow you to spend as much time with your children as possible.
Mediation often costs less, does not take as much time and leaves the parties feeling more satisfied with the outcome. You are more likely to adhere to your agreements since you worked hard to create them. You can put your children first and give them the opportunity to thrive. Research shows that children need both parents in their lives, and mediation provides you with a better chance of making that happen.
Why seek support?
Just because you decide not to go to court does not mean that you don't need to protect your rights. You can give yourself access to all of the support you need in reaching the agreement that works best for you and your family. This often means seeking support in making financial, parenting and legal decisions. The better your support team is through this process, the better your start to your new life.