Divorce mediation is a private and typically more peaceful process where a neutral third party assists divorcing couples in resolving their issues without going to trial. The areas addressed include custody and visitation, spousal and child support and property division.
Spouses often use mediation to settle property or custody agreements in divorce cases. While Texas courts strongly recommend the process in all contested divorce cases, it is mandatory in Parker County before a dispute can go to trial.
The benefits of divorce mediation
Divorce can be messy and painful. It can also be time-consuming and costly when it results in litigation. Mediation offers these benefits:
- Reduced stress: Trials typically focus on contentious issues. Mediation is more forward-looking and concentrates on areas where spouses agree.
- Less costly: While the cost of mediation depends on several factors, the process is considerably cheaper than litigation. Some estimates put the savings at 40% to 60%.
- Privacy: Trials and other court hearings are public proceedings. Mediation is confidential, and no public record exists for discussions, which often include painful personal details and financial information.
- Flexibility: You and your spouse control where, when and how often you meet. During litigation, you are at the mercy of the court’s schedule.
- Peaceful co-parenting: The process often results in a better future parenting relationship as mediation usually improves communication skills and makes future interactions easier.
What are the possible outcomes?
If mediation isn’t working for you and your spouse, you still have the option to go to court. However, if you reach a settlement, the mediator will draft a “Rule 11 Agreement.” Once signed by both you and your spouse, it becomes a binding legal document.
It is advisable to consult an experienced family law attorney who understands the mediation process, such as a Certified Family Law Mediator. Your lawyer will work to protect your rights during the process, review the agreement and draft the formal paperwork for approval by the court.