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How to successfully work out a custody agreement via mediation

If you and your spouse are working out your various divorce agreements through mediation, negotiating your custody and visitation agreement will be one of the most important things you'll do during the process.

Typically, co-parents who can negotiate this agreement on their own are happier with the finished product than those who fight it out in court or have to ask a judge to make these decisions for them. After all, who knows your children better than you?

In Texas divorces, mediation is required as a first step. While some couples find that they can't work things out via mediation and need to pursue a litigated divorce, many continue with it and finalize all aspects of their divorce via mediation.

This can save considerable time and money. Perhaps more importantly, particularly when you have kids, it can start you out with a strong co-parenting relationship that will benefit your children.

Mediation and other options besides litigation require preparation. It's important to know and understand the various types of custody so that you can better determine your goals. It's wise to have an attorney to turn to for advice and knowledge as you begin the process.

Unlike in a litigated divorce, you won't have your attorney there to negotiate for you. Therefore, you'll need to rely on your own negotiating skills.

It's important to set realistic expectations. Neither you nor your co-parent will get everything you want. However, if you both are willing to compromise on some details, you'll probably both be able to get an agreement you can be happy with.

While you should go into negotiations knowing what your goals are, it's essential to listen to your co-parent. They have their wishes and goals, too. Neither of you should have a "winner-take-all" attitude. Your co-parent may actually have some good ideas you hadn't considered.

For many divorcing couples who use mediation to develop their agreements, managing their emotions is one of the most difficult things to do. Emotions can run particularly high when you're talking about your children. However, if you're going to make mediation work, you need to focus on the matter at hand and not let those emotions get in the way.

If you believe that you can work through your custody and other divorce agreements via mediation, talk to an attorney with experience in this process.

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