Divorce mediation is an alternative to divorce litigation. It is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and is required by most Texas Family Law courts before a case will be allowed to proceed to trial.
Divorce mediation is an opportunity for the divorcing couple to craft their own settlement agreement with the help of their lawyers and a mediator. It is generally much less expensive than actually trying your case in court, and tends to reduce the adversarial tone in divorce litigation. Under Texas Family Law, if properly executed, drafted and filed, mediation agreements are legally binding.
In Texas, divorce mediation involves a third party who is contracted to help a married couple reach a settlement on some or all aspects of the divorce, including parenting agreements, property division, etc.
As an alternative to the trial of your family law matter, divorce mediation can be particularly beneficial for families with children, both for those who find themselves in a post-divorce dispute and those going through the divorce process. Parents naturally have an interest in continuity for their children and resuming normalcy as quickly as possible. A contested custody trial can make this that much more difficult to attain.
Mediation can, but most often does not, require that the parties be in the same room together. Most of the time the mediator will move back and forth between two rooms until an agreement is reached.
Mediation is increasing in favor because it saves time and gives parties more control over the outcome, which also helps change the process from “win-lose” to “win-win.”
When is mediation appropriate?
The outcome of divorce mediation is an agreement that turns what may have been a hotly contested dispute into an uncontested divorce.
There are few instances when mediation is not appropriate. It has proven effective in matters involving children and in matters that were exclusively a property dispute. When children are involved, those children’s interests are served when they see their parents get along, even if they will not be together in the same home any longer.
Even in cases where there has been domestic violence, mediation can work if proper safeguards are taken. However, if the abused spouse is too afraid to focus on resolution of the case knowing that their abuser is so close, then this is not an appropriate remedy and should not be used.