You can save yourself a lot of grief if you focus on your won needs and not the needs of your ex. It is difficult to be involved in an ongoing divorce battle, especially when the post decree issues revolve around coparenting. From someone who has been there, I can tell you that it is stressful, overwhelming and beyond belief the disputes that arise. Maybe you expected to get divorced, the papers signed, the court files it and away you go, over, done, end of story, but then the battle goes on and on.
You can be so frustrated by the squabbles and pettiness that when you finally have the chance to sit down with a mediator, parenting consultant, attorney or any court authority to mediate an agreement, you are worn out and ready to agree to anything to make it stop. This would be a big mistake.
Agreements involving children can leave a lot of room for obscurity or even an invitation to retaliation. You want to be careful and make sure you cover all the bases leaving little room for debate in the future.
These agreements can be rushed because you want to keep the time you must sit with your ex to a minimum. You may feel pressured to get it done quickly and avoid future meetings, but a little extra time now can save you a great deal of time and headache in the future. So how can you be prepared to not get sucked into the anger and emotion pit to make sure that the agreement is truly what you want and not something you have agreed to because you and your ex are sick of each and want to agree to break free of the conflict of moment?
When you have a meeting scheduled, always make a list of what you want or ideas you have for resolving the conflict. Do whatever you can to be well rested. It is much harder to stand firm when you are tired. If the events unfold in a way that is deeply upsetting to you, take a break. You should always be allowed to take a break in mediation. If you cannot continue even after trying a break, end the process. This will be a little more difficult when you are talking with a parenting consultant, but still your right to ask for a reschedule, time to gather more information or a chance to refocus on the issue at hand, rather than the battle.
Calm and focus are necessary so that you don’t give in to another’s demands. I am not saying that you should be unwilling to negotiate, but rather that you make sure the agreement is going to work for you. If you have any question about that, ask for more specific wording from the meeting facilitator or if possible request a few days time to think it over before it is filed with the court.
Sick of each other agreements are problematic because most likely, neither of you truly wants that or has any intention of following through with the agreement. In either case, it will lead to further conflict and dissatisfaction with the system, but you have to keep in mind, when you stipulate to something, you are the one who put this on yourself. The court simply accepted the agreement and put it into an order.
A final word of caution regarding court orders, there are times when an agreement is written in a way that isn’t clear and can be misinterpreted to mean something other than how you intended. Always read the agreement over thoroughly and make sure it seems clear to anyone who may read it down the road. If the wording seems wrong or not what you intended, request that it is corrected. You may have to live with an agreement for many years. Make sure it truly is the document you were expecting.