What is Divorce Mediation in Texas?
Divorce mediation is a settlement process. It is an alternative to a court hearing. You and your spouse meet with a neutral third party whose job is to assist the parties in reaching an agreement. The mediator is not a judge and will not make any final decisions.
Instead, the mediator’s job is to facilitate the discussion. The decision-making is left up to you and your spouse. During the divorce mediation, you will negotiate issues such as child support, custody, visitation, property division, and spousal support.
Mediation can be voluntary or court-ordered. Most judges in Texas require spouses to go through the mediation process before proceeding to trial. Mediation is one of the most common ways that divorce settlements occur in Texas. If there is a history of domestic violence or another reason mediation will likely fail, you can ask the judge to waive the mediation requirement.
What Happens During a Mediation Session in Tarrant County?
Typically, during a divorce meditation session, you and your spouse will be in separate rooms. The mediator will go back and forth between the parties and help guide the negotiation until an agreement is reached. The mediator’s goal is to help the parties create a settlement agreement that makes both parties happy. No one can force you to sign an agreement during a mediation session in Tarrant County.
In some circumstances, there could be a joint mediation, where you and your spouse meet together in the same room with the mediator.
Mediation sessions are confidential. This means that what you say to the mediator will not be shared with the court. If your divorce case does go to a hearing, your mediator will not be called as a witness, and neither party can be cross-examined about what they said during negotiations. Only final agreements will become public.
The length of the sessions and the amount of sessions necessary entirely depends on how quickly you and your spouse can reach an agreement.
What are the Benefits of Mediation in Tarrant County?
There are three primary benefits of divorce mediation in Tarrant County, Texas.
- Mediation is less expensive and time-consuming. Trials are a significant undertaking. Often, people underestimate the amount of work that an attorney needs to put in researching and preparing a case for trial. The costs can quickly add up if neither side is willing to compromise.
- You and your spouse have control over the outcome, not a judge. Judges do not know your family’s situation better than you do. Mediation gives you and your spouse the opportunity to create solutions that work best for you both.
- Mediation can help maintain your relationship with your spouse. Coming out of a divorce with a healthy relationship with your ex-spouse is especially important if you have kids together and will be transitioning to a co-parenting relationship. In mediation, you and your spouse are working together to find a solution. In a trial, you and your spouse are fighting against each other.
What if Mediation Doesn’t Work in Tarrant County?
If you cannot come to an agreement in mediation, you will have to go to court, where a judge will make the final decisions in your divorce case. Mediation is not all or nothing. It is possible to come to an agreement on some issues but go to trial on others. For example, you and your spouse could come to a partial agreement on property division but need the court to decide custody issues.
Do You Need an Attorney for Divorce Mediation?
You are not required to have an attorney for divorce mediation in Tarrant County, but it is always a good idea. The mediator is not there to represent either side or to offer legal advice. On the other hand, an attorney can answer all your questions and ensure that your rights are protected.
It is critical to understand that the agreement you sign at a divorce mediation is a legally binding document. An attorney will confirm that you understand and agree to every provision in the document. If mediation doesn’t work, then your attorney will help you with the next steps.
Your Tarrant County Family Law Attorney
If you have questions about divorce mediation in Tarrant County, you should contact an experienced family law attorney. Craig S. Michalk is here to help. Call the Law Office of Craig S. Michalk today at 817-282-9895 for a free consultation. We look forward to the opportunity to discuss and assist you with your divorce case.
Frank Lloyd Wright