The divorce process can be a lengthy one, especially when spouses find themselves disagreeing about important matters. Disputes about property division, child custody and support matters often lead to litigation. Couples then rely on a judge to interpret Texas state law and resolve their disagreements.
The more that couples must address in court, the longer it will take to finalize a divorce and the more the process will cost each spouse. While litigation is necessary for some families, there are alternatives that can potentially help families to settle divorce matters outside of court. Mediation is one such alternative. Couples who attend mediation sessions have an opportunity to reach a settlement and proceed with an uncontested divorce or a litigation process that is far less complex than it might otherwise be.
What happens during mediation?
Mediation involves an individual and their attorney communicating with a neutral third party in addition to their spouse and their spouse’s attorney. Mediation can take place with both spouses, their attorneys and the mediator together in one room or in separate spaces. The lawyers help advocate for the needs of their clients, while the mediator’s role is to help the process flow smoothly as the couple negotiates.
The goal of the process is to discuss matters and find a way to reach a mutually-agreeable solution. People can often find areas where they are willing to make concessions provided that they secure certain terms. When spouses are able to reach an agreement, they can sign paperwork to make that agreement enforceable and then move forward with uncontested divorce proceedings. Those who can’t reach a fully-realized settlement can still go to court to litigate any outstanding disagreements.
Why is mediation increasingly popular?
There are many benefits to the mediation process. Spouses can talk about deeply personal matters with privacy because the process is confidential. They can also retain control over the final outcome, which is important for those with young children or certain needs when it comes to property division matters. Mediation can also be useful because it won’t usually cause additional damage to the relationship between the spouses and could even help them improve their current dynamic.
Seeking legal guidance concerning the possibility of mediation could be a viable option for those considering divorce in Texas and who are hoping to keep the process calmer and/or more private.