Ask any divorce attorney in the Lone Star State, and they’ll admit that litigation is expensive, especially when both attorneys are fighting each other. Beyond the high cost, litigation can also do further damage to an already fractured family relationship, for both the divorcing parents and their children. Divorce mediation can reduce the pain and suffering that litigation can inflict. Using mediation in your divorce can make the process easier and less expensive.
What is Mediation?
Litigation hands all the decisions to the court, which has full discretion to decide how to dissolve the marriage. Property division, spousal support (alimony), child custody (conservatorship), and other decisions are made by a judge. The parties have little input into these final decisions.
Mediation is an informal process where the parties work together to make these same decisions themselves. The parties jointly choose a neutral third party to work with them to make important decisions. The court may also choose one from a list of court-appointed mediators. Parties can begin working with a mediator when they hire one without any court proceeding. You’ll meet in a neutral and confidential setting. Mediation helps divorcing couples create their resolution, giving both parties more input and more say in the process. It also encourages a problem-solving approach and cooperation between the parties. The disagreements can be handled in just a few sessions, and sometimes just one. Mediators can work with a family’s schedule.
You will still need to file a petition with the court to finalize the divorce. Some Texas counties require mediation before trial. The agreements made in mediation are then converted into a final decree of divorce and submitted to the court for approval. The mediator doesn’t give legal advice, nor represent either party. That’s where your attorney comes in.
Benefits of Mediation
Mediation offers multiple benefits:
• Cost-Effectiveness. Court proceedings can be expensive due to attorney fees, court costs, and other related expenses. With mediation, the parties work with a neutral mediator to reach an agreement, reducing their expenses.
• Faster Resolution. Litigation can take months, or even years because of the court’s schedule and backlog of cases. Mediation allows the parties to control the pace and schedule of the negotiations and reach agreements sooner.
• Control and Flexibility. Mediation gives divorcing couples more control over the outcome and allows the parties to actively participate in the decision-making process. They create personalized solutions and tailor the agreements to their specific circumstances. The parties can work together to compromise and agree on a solution that meets their family’s unique needs.
• Confidentiality. Mediation is private, and discussions that take place during mediation are usually kept confidential. Court proceedings are a matter of public record, and details of the case may become publicly accessible.
• Reduced Stress and Hostility. Mediation can be less adversarial than litigation. The collaborative nature of mediation often reduces stress and hostility between the parties, leading to a more cooperative relationship. The focus on cooperation and communication during mediation can foster a healthier post-divorce relationship, especially important for co-parenting.
While divorce mediation has a high success rate, it may not work in every divorce. Litigation may be unavoidable in some cases. However, attempting mediation can still offer advantages for conflict resolution and other issues that lead to delays in a divorce.
Get Help With Divorce Mediation In Fort Worth
Wendy L. Hart has been helping people in the Fort Worth area with all their family law issues since 2001. She represents both men and women in all aspects of divorce, including spousal and child support matters. Need help? Get in touch by using our online contact form, or call us at (817) 842-2336. Don’t try to handle a divorce, spousal maintenance, or other family law matters by yourself. Contact The Law Office of Wendy L. Hart and get the help you need.