Divorce Mediation Is An Important Part Of The Divorce Process In Texas!
Divorce mediation involves a neutral party (the Mediator) working with a divorcing couple to help them reach an agreement on the issues in their case. The issues can be about child support, custody and visitation, dividing property, and spousal support. A Mediator is not a judge. He or she helps the couple reach a voluntary agreement.
Many Texas counties require that a divorcing couple attempt Mediation before going to a final hearing, Bexar County included.
Mediation has its benefits. Some include:
- It has a high success rate in resolving issues, especially when both parties are reasonable;
- It puts the divorcing couple in control and gives them the flexibility to resolve their issues;
- It improves communication between the divorcing spouses; and
- Sometimes, you can’t come to an agreement on all issues. But, it helps if a judge sees that you did try to work out some things. This always works in your favor.
Mediation can take up to a full day to come to an agreement. It rarely takes longer, but sometimes a couple will need more than one session with the Mediator. It all depends on the issues there are and how far apart the couple is on what they want and what they believe is fair.
There are specific Mediators approved by the Court that we use. The session is normally held in the Mediator’s office, but sometimes takes place at one of the Attorney’s offices. Once everyone is set up, the Mediator visits with each side and learns about their wishes and needs. The Mediator acts as a go-between, helping the divorcing spouses (with their Attorney’s input) reach a mutual compromise on the issues involved in their divorce.
Once everything is worked out, the Mediator puts it in writing.
We call this a Mediated Settlement Agreement. The divorcing spouses, the Attorneys, and the Mediator sign and date the Mediated Settlement Agreement. The Attorneys use the Mediated Settlement Agreement to draft the Final Decree of Divorce, which will be presented to the court for the Judge’s signature and filing. The couple can be divorced any time after the Mediated Settlement Agreement is completed. The Agreed Final Decree of Divorce will still need to be prepared and presented for the Judge’s signature.
Sometimes Mediation does not work. Sometimes the divorcing couple agrees to most, but not every issue. In this case, they go to court, where a Judge will make the final decision on anything the spouses cannot agree on. The less the Judge has to decide, the faster the process goes, and the happier the Judge is!