If you are ending your marriage, you are likely facing issues including property division, child custody and support (both child support and alimony). In most cases, you and your spouse will have areas of agreement and areas of contention.
Many counties in Texas require mediation. Except in cases of domestic violence or abuse, mediation is worth considering even where the law does not mandate it.
A divorce mediator is a neutral third party who helps you and your spouse reach a divorce agreement. Mediators help you communicate effectively, clarify the issues, and compromise when appropriate. A mediator can provide information about the legal system and suggest solutions that may never have occurred to you or your spouse.
You and your spouse will need to agree on the time and location for mediation sessions. However, Texas law states that you can be in separate rooms and avoid face-to-face contact. You will likely meet several times before the process is complete.
Court battles can consume an enormous amount of your time and money. Mediation is a much quicker and more affordable alternative. When mediation is successful, you and your spouse can end your marriage in a manner agreeable to you both. You control the outcome rather than putting the final decision in the hands of a judge. Because you retain the power to make your own arrangements, you may find it easier to comply with the stipulations. Your spouse is more likely to cooperate as well.
Mediation is especially beneficial if you have children. It is often less contentious than litigation, which means your kids may experience less conflict. The communication skills and negotiation techniques you learn during mediation can also pave the way for smoother co-parenting.
You may reach agreement on all areas. In that case, the attorneys for the parties can then draft a final divorce decree based on the terms of the mediated settlement agreement, which is binding for both parties.
Not all couples come to agreement on all issues in mediation. When you are able to reach agreement on some but not all issues, your time in mediation was not wasted. In this situation, you go to court with a partial mediated settlement agreement. The agreement limits the scope of the litigation, which means that the judge will not rule upon issues already decided in mediation. This can help reduce the time and cost of your litigation.
Remember, there is no “one-size-fits-all” path for divorce.