Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It involves having a professionally-trained, objective third party assist two people or companies reach a favorable resolution outside of court. Mediation could help a divorcing couple agree on child custody, asset division, or custody/alimony payments. Mediation is a voluntary process, and many divorcing spouses can agree to settlements without the need for litigation through mediation. Discuss whether mediation is right for you with your divorce attorney.
Benefits of Using Mediation
There are a variety of reasons a divorcing couple would opt for mediation if they are otherwise unable to agree on their case:
- Mediation is confidential—no need to worry about news cameras, reporters, or revealing uncomfortable information
- Mediation is faster than court—what can take months to accomplish in court can often be resolved in an hour of mediation
- Mediation is much less formal than court, which tends to create a more relaxing, cooperative atmosphere
- Mediation is cheaper than litigating your case in court
People who have used mediation tend to report that the resolution was mutually-beneficial, felt more individualized to their unique situation, and fostered a non-combative atmosphere that will make the future relationship more friendly and workable. The only real downside to mediation is that there is no investigation of evidence or witness testimony.
Texas Divorce Mediation Procedures
In Texas, a judge can stipulate that a couple must work through their divorce disputes in mediation under Texas Family Code 6.602(a) and 153.0071(c). In some counties in Texas, mediation is required. In other counties, it is completely voluntary.
Divorce Mediation Costs
You can expect to spend less on private divorce mediation services than you would spend on litigation. Some Texas counties offer mediation through the local court system, and this tends to be the most cost-effective option. Some counties offer free mediation for those who have qualifying incomes. If you litigate your divorce disputes in court instead, that bill tends to add up much quicker, causing many couples to consider mediation.
Can I Have an Attorney with Me During Mediation?
In most cases, yes, you can. It is a good idea to have legal representation if it is allowed. You might unknowingly agree to a settlement that is less than what your rights allow without a lawyer informing you of standards, procedures, and rights. A divorce mediator will not step in, for example, and say, “You are entitled to receive a lot more child support than this,” or “Don’t feel guilty taking alimony—it’s your right.” If you are not allowed to have legal representation at your mediation session, you can still consult with a lawyer outside the mediation sessions to develop a solid strategy and get informed.
Need a Sugar Land Divorce Lawyer?
If you need guidance on how to settle your Texas divorce, Jamie Jordan, PLLC, is a Sugar Land divorce lawyer with years and years of experience. Whether you mediate, litigate, or settle amicably, you can reach out to Jamie Jordan for sound advice or representation. Contact us today to set up a no-pressure, no-obligation consultation.