The thought of divorce often makes people think of bitter battles in family court. Many spouses who choose to end a marriage do not agree about issues related to property division, financial support or child custody.
They litigate in family court while pursuing a contested divorce. A judge then decides what is appropriate given family circumstances and Texas state law. Some people do not realize that litigation is not the only option for divorce proceedings. In fact, it should be the last option in most cases. Mediation is an alternative way to resolve disputes and proceed with a divorce in Texas.
How can couples decide if mediation is a good option in their case?
Evaluate the situation carefully
Not every family facing divorce would benefit from mediation, but many of them might. For example, those with young children may turn to mediation to shield their children from conflict and the stress that parental disputes might cause. Parents can also begin practicing healthier ways to resolve conflicts and communicate in mediation.
Those divorcing because of marital misconduct may also see the value in mediation. They can openly discuss issues including infidelity and other forms of spousal misconduct in a confidential setting instead of making those issues part of the public record by discussing them in family court.
Understand the process
Mediation involves sitting down with a neutral third party to discuss the current disagreements between the spouses. Mediation is not a binding process, meaning that the spouses have to reach an agreement or can still go on to litigate in court. They negotiate with one another with the help of a mediator who facilitates conversation and compromise. If they can reach an agreement, they can include the details of that agreement in a written document that they sign and then present to the courts for an uncontested divorce.
Mediation can involve everyone sitting down together or the mediator going back and forth between spaces to keep the spouses separate, which could help those in high-conflict divorces. It can, therefore, work for families in many different situations where emotions are high.
For a variety of reasons, considering mediation as a possible solution for marital disputes may benefit those preparing for divorce in Texas.