Going through a Texas divorce can be complicated and emotional, but it doesn’t always have to be.
If you have to go to trial to reach a resolution, the process can become lengthy and contentious.
Fortunately, however, there are ways to prevent this from happening.
Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your divorce, a Texas divorce mediation might be right for you.
Mediation: An Overview
Mediation is an out-of-court process in which a neutral decision-maker, called the mediator, assists parties in reaching a mutually agreeable settlement. The mediation process provides parties with a way to reach a resolution without going through the court system.
In a divorce mediation, the mediator helps the couple settle issues that would typically be decided by a judge.
These issues might include:
The role of a Texas divorce mediator is to assist the couple in reaching a voluntary agreement. However, the mediator will never force a settlement on any party.
How The Texas Divorce Mediation Process Unfolds
Hire a Divorce Mediator in Texas
The first step in beginning your divorce mediation is to hire a Texas divorce mediator. The mediator you select should be well-versed on all issues frequently addressed in a divorce.
Your mediator will be guiding you and your spouse through one of the most difficult times in your life. Thus it is important that you choose someone whom you trust and feel comfortable having difficult conversations with. Your divorce attorney will likely provide recommendations for mediators that would be a good fit.
Attend Divorce Mediation Sessions
The next step is the mediation session itself. Mediation sessions can occur in different ways.
You may meet with your spouse and the mediator together in one room, although that is not typical. Alternatively, you and your spouse may each meet with the mediator separately, which is more often done. If you are represented by an attorney, they can attend mediation with you and advise you as you come to an agreement.
Depending on the extent of disagreements with your spouse, the mediation may require only one session. However, often couples will have differing wishes in some areas, and it will take multiple sessions.
Sign the Divorce Agreement and File The Paperwork With The Court
Finally, if the parties do reach a voluntary settlement agreement, they will sign the agreement and file it with the court.
Pros and Cons of TX Divorce Mediation
As with any process, there are pros and cons of going to mediation for divorce in Texas.
Examples of Texas divorce mediation benefits include the following:
- Mediation is typically faster and cheaper than going through the court system;
- You can avoid a court trial;
- Mediation gives you more control over the terms of your divorce;
- The process can help to keep things amicable between the parties; and
- Even if you don’t come to an agreement, a judge may give weight to your attempt to try later on because many courts require mediation prior to trial.
Attempting to finalize your divorce through mediation can be a great way to streamline your divorce while keeping things as friendly and amicable as possible.
Of course, there are cons to mediation in Texas as well.
Some of these cons include the following:
- Mediation does not necessarily guarantee a fair outcome;
- There is no “discovery” process or ability to questions witnesses in mediation; and
- If you and your spouse are unlikely or unable to have reasonable discussions, mediation will likely be unhelpful for you.
Give our team a call to discuss whether proceeding with mediation might be the right step for you.
What Happens When You Do and Don’t Reach an Agreement in a Texas Divorce Mediation?
If you and your spouse do reach a divorce settlement agreement, you will each sign a formal agreement. You will then file the settlement agreement with the court. Once the court approves the agreement, its terms will become the terms of your final divorce decree.
If, however, you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, you have no obligation to continue attempts at meditation.
Although some Texas counties require you to at least attempt mediation, mediation is mostly a voluntary process. If the process does not work for you, you are entitled to have your divorce issues heard and decided by a judge.
Is a Divorce Mediation in Texas Right for Me?
If you and your spouse are seeking a divorce and would rather come to an agreement together than go through the court process, mediation may be the path for you.
According to a national survey, the average cost of a litigated divorce is about $15,000 per person.
However, resolving your Texas divorce through mediation can potentially lead to a much cheaper cost and a quicker result.
We Can Answer Your Questions
If you have questions about whether divorce mediation in Texas might be right for you, we want to help.
Erik and Diana Larson have been practicing law in Texas for over 20 years. Going through a divorce can often feel both financially and emotionally overwhelming. But you don’t have to go through it on your own.