“Divorce”, a seven-letter word that puts you in one of the most difficult and stressful situations. There are a number of ways that you can go through a divorce. Litigation is one, followed by a collaborative divorce. The third is called a “divorce mediation”. This is the process by which a couple involves a neutral third party known as the “mediator”. Not often mandated by court in most states, divorces that are filed in Texas usually come with a requirement or rather a high recommendation for mediation. Before you get into mediation, here are some things you have to know.
The objective of mediation is to arrive at a settlement mutually agreed upon by both parties. This process is not a battle of lawyers and lawsuits, rather a compromise or a negotiation.
Given that this third person involved in your divorce is a neutral party, the mediator has no decision-making power; he/she must remain objective. His/Her primary goal is to help the couple arrive at voluntary agreements and to put the decisions in writing. Depending on the situation, the mediator may be assigned by the court or you may ask for a referral.
The Kitchen-Table Settlements
What goes on in a mediation resembles that of “kitchen table settlements” where a couple sits down to discuss matters that affect the household. During this time, both parties take the time to discuss child custody and support and property divisions. This gives the couple a chance to go about their divorce on their own terms.
The Rule 11 Agreement
Rule 11 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure states that “no agreement between attorneys or parties touching any suit pending will be enforced unless it be in writing, signed and filed with the papers as part of the record, or unless it be made in open court and entered of record.” The terms are made legal upon putting decisions made in a mediation in writing signed by both parties and the mediator.
There are a few things you might want to consider when going through a divorce. For instance:
- Divorce mediation is relatively the cheaper option. Each session costs $100-$250 compared to litigation that usually costs a minimum of $25000.
- Mediation usually ends in a more positive relationship for co-parenting post-divorce.
- Resolution in good terms
Before going into mediation, consider the state of the relationship. If there was no history of abuse or if both parties mutually decide on ending the marriage, then a divorce mediation should work to your advantage.