Although many people often assume divorce is a hotly contested legal dispute, the truth is that most divorces do not end up in the courtroom. One of the most effective ways a divorcing couple can settle their differences in an amicable and respectful manner is through divorce mediation.
In divorce mediation, a neutral and professional third party known as the “mediator” meets with both spouses in several sessions to help them communicate and resolve any important issues (e.g., property division, spousal support, child support, child custody, etc.) to reach a final agreement. This process can occur before filing or during the divorce.
The following are the main benefits of divorce mediation compared to court litigation:
- Less costly – Mediation is generally cheaper than court litigation since you avoid a significant number of legal fees, court costs, and other expenses. While you and your spouse may each retain a lawyer, you would only have to pay the mediator’s hourly or per-session rate. Additionally, some counties in Texas provide free or low-cost mediation at Dispute Resolution Centers, depending on your eligibility.
- Saves time – Rather than being restricted to the court schedule, couples are free to meet with the mediator any place at any time. Whether it’s in an office, a conference room, or even in the marital home, the mediator can meet with the couple after hours or on weekends. Couples have the flexibility to find time within their busy schedules to reach an agreement on their issues.
- Private communication – While courtroom proceedings are part of the public record, anything the couple discusses, drafts, or otherwise discloses during mediation will remain confidential, according to state laws.
- Customized solutions – When a divorce is decided by a judge, not only is there a winner and a loser, but sometimes both parties can end up with unfavorable results since the outcome is based strictly on the law. On the other hand, divorce mediation enables couples to develop a fair settlement agreement that mutually benefits both parties and can avoid future legal battles.
- Protect the children – Divorce can be extremely hard on everyone involved, especially the children. A hostile and heavily disputed divorce can negatively impact a child’s emotional and psychological well-being and leave lasting scars. But if both parents can work out their differences through a problem-solving process like mediation, they may successfully co-parent in the future, which significantly benefits the children.
Once the mediated settlement agreement is signed, the couple will then prepare and file the final divorce paperwork, which includes the proposed final divorce decree and a motion to enter a judgment, according to the signed agreement. Either your lawyer or sometimes a mediator may help you file all the paperwork.
If you are interested in filing for a divorce in San Antonio, call The Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie, PLLC at (210) 775-2000 or complete our online contact form today to learn how we can help you and your family.