Although mediation is not mandatory for every Texas divorce case, it can be greatly beneficial for a couple attempting to finalize their divorce without having to undergo a lengthy and costly trial in court. In fact, it can be so advantageous that some courts will require a couple to give mediation the old college try before they can take their case to court.
The benefits of mediation include, but are not limited to, the following facts:
- Both parties often save time and money by avoiding litigation;
- The success rate for resolving issues through mediation is quite high;
- Since mediation involves both parties coming to a compromise, it is often correlated with improved communication afterward;
- Both parties have more control over how their divorce will unfold than they would if a judge presided over it;
- It leaves ample room for flexibility; and
- Mediation, unlike litigation, is confidential.
This may seem too good to be true, but the very setup of mediation and how much it costs makes the above benefits possible.
How Does Mediation Work?
As mentioned, mediation does not take place in court. Instead, it is conducted in private with a mediator traveling in between two rooms (one room for each party) to help soon-to-be-exes come to a mutual agreement regarding any points of contention in their divorce: child support/custody, alimony, and/or the division of property.
The role of the mediator is solely to negotiate between one spouse and their attorney in one room and the other spouse and their attorney in the other room to help them come to a mediated settlement agreement, or MSA.
One of the biggest benefits of mediation is that an MSA is highly customizable in ways that a judge-ordered arrangement is not. For example, an MSA can include having one spouse pay spousal support in the form of certain bills or arrange for a unique visitation schedule that works better for both parents than any of the ones outlined in the Texas Family Codes. Unfortunately, judges cannot customize plans in the same way becausethey must refer to the state codes when formulating their rulings.
Once signed, MSAs are final and, therefore, legally binding. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement during mediation, they will proceed to court to have a judge work out a compromise for them.
How Much Does Mediation Cost?
While each party will have to pay for their own attorney in addition to a mediation fee, the final bill can be expected to be substantially lower than it would have been if they had taken the case to court. One reason for this is that mediation can easily be finished in one or two days; another is that the average session is only two to four hours long. (Even if mediation stretches out for months, in most cases, the total time that it takes remains less than the time it would have taken in court.) Therefore, divorcing spouses will only need to work with attorneys for a short amount of time and pay several hundred dollars in mediation fees as opposed to the tens of thousands of dollars that court proceedings require.
If you are considering giving mediation a try, the Law Offices of Frank E. Mann, P.C. wants to work with you. We will assist you in gathering all the required documents to prepare for it, as well as attend it to ensure that negotiations go smoothly and that your rights are preserved and protected.
Let us help you reap the full benefits of mediation. Contact the Law Offices of Frank E. Mann, P.C. online today.