Ideally, you and your spouse will be able to work out all the issues involved in a divorce if you decide to end your marriage. Unfortunately, however, that does not always happen. When there are contested issues in a divorce that the parties cannot resolve through simple negotiation, mediation may be suggested (or ordered) by the court. If your divorce case is headed for mediation, Dallas mediation lawyer Rita M. Boyd explains what you need to know about mediation in a Texas divorce.
What Is Mediation?
When the parties to litigation are unable to resolve their dispute through traditional negotiations, the law offers several types of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods that may help the parties avoid trial. Mediation is the type of ADR typically used in a divorce. During mediation, a mediator – usually an attorney who has received specialized training in mediation strategies and procedures, tries to help the parties resolve any outstanding disputes. A mediator is not a judge and does not make any binding decisions regarding the case. The mediator’s job does not involve giving legal advice nor does a mediator offer legal opinions regarding the strengths or weaknesses of a case. Think of a mediator as a middleman/woman whose sole job is to try and bring both sides together to resolve a conflict.
Benefits of Mediation
If mediation has been suggested (or ordered) in your divorce case, it may help to learn more about some of the many benefits to trying mediation, including:
- Cost effective. A contested divorce can be very expensive. Given that at least one party typically experiences a significant decrease in financial resources post-divorce, saving money during the divorce process should be a goal. When a divorce case is resolved through mediation instead of trial it can dramatically reduce the overall cost of the divorce.
- Flexibility. If your divorce case goes to trial, the judge (or jury) will not have a tremendous amount of flexibility when it comes to decision-making. Assets may have to be sold to effectuate a division of assets and you will likely end up with a cookie-cutter possession and access schedule. Mediation, however, offers the opportunity to customize the terms of your divorce to best suit everyone involved.
- Protecting your children. Children feel the emotional stress of a divorce right along with their parents – sometimes even more. If your divorce proceeds to trial, your children may feel the need to “pick a side.” Mediation offers an alternative that can help protect your children’s emotional health and prevent them from dealing with the emotional fallout that inevitably happens when parents are pitted against one another in court.
- It is not binding. One of the best things about mediation is that you are not required to reach a resolution during your mediation; however, if you do, the agreement will be reduced to writing and presented to the court for approval. In other words, other than the cost associated with mediation, you have nothing to lose. If it works, you have saved considerably more time and money. If it does not work, you still have the option to go to trial.
- Private and confidential. Mediation also offers a forum wherein you can discuss possible solutions without anything you say becoming part of an official record. Negotiations that take place during mediation cannot be introduced at trial.
- Saves time. Finally, resolving your divorce through mediation will save you not just money, but also time. Getting a divorce case to trial takes months, even years. Along with the often-voluminous discovery that must take place, the court’s calendar is often full for months in advance. If you want your divorce concluded in a reasonable time, mediation is likely your best bet.
Contact a Dallas Mediation Lawyer
If you have additional questions or concerns about mediation in a Texas divorce, contact an experienced Dallas mediation lawyer at Rita M. Boyd, P.C. to discuss your legal rights and options by calling is my hope that you will call me. Call me right now at 972-380-8000 to schedule your appointment today.