A smooth proceeding of divorce depends on a proper understanding of the type of case one should opt for with the help of an experienced lawyer. Texas has both no-fault and fault options for such separation. Out of them, approximately 95 percent of all cases are settled by an agreement. Divorce mediation in Texas is an alternative method of litigation and is quite inexpensive. It is a method in which the couple ending the relationship works out on their problems, disagreements, and marital issues through a third party called a mediator. This person along with the divorcing parties assemble to discuss the disputed topics and reach a mutual agreement on consensus. He/she is a person who takes a neutral stride between the parties and never supports the biased decision.
Characteristics of Resolution of Parting Ways in Texas
- It is a process that helps to resolve the case without any disputes and thus results in having an uncontested partition.
- It helps in agreement on issues like property division, child custody, child visitation and support, parenting arrangements and spousal support.
- This process is particularly useful in situations involving children.
- All cases that involve contested child custody or visitation matters are referred to opt. for a mediation. In such a case, the parties should be represented by an attorney.
- The involvement of a third party or mediator is mandatory.
- It should not be used where allegations of domestic violence are present or there are instances of one party dominating the other.
- This process works better when trust and cooperation are prevalent between the parties.
Role of Mediators
A mediator is the most important person involved in resolving a critical case. Texas does not have any licensing requirement for them. He/she is not a judge, an arbitrator, a counselor or an advisor to the parties. This person should have acquired formal training from a recognized body or institute. He/she should have extremely good knowledge about law, budgeting, and tax to help in contemplating the entire process of marriage termination. He/she is usually an experienced attorney, or a retired judge, or from any other professions (like a marriage counselor, social workers, psychologist, or lawyer) who is trained in family matters that require counseling. He/she always help a couple to resolve issues and reach an agreement but never renders a decision on the issues in dispute. The primary responsibility for the resolution of a dispute rests with the parties.
If a judge issues a court order for this process, then a mediator for the sessions must be appointed. The sessions conducted are usually private.
Process of Texas Divorce Mediation
This effective process can help both a couple seeking end of relationship; and the one who has long been divorced but is facing a lot of disputes in their post-divorce relationship. The basic process of resolving the matter is as follows:
- The couple opts for a mediation process to reach an agreement. Either the court may order depending on the case (contested or uncontested) or it can be a private initiative.
- The couple attends an orientation session in which the liaison thoroughly explains the process and the rules involved in it.
- After the initial session, the couple attends three to eight sessions (depending on the complexities of the issue/s) in which he/she guides them to make their own decision on how they wish to end their marriage. They analyze their budgets and needs, divide marital property, review their children’s need, and reorganize their standard of living based on the current circumstances. The presence of children in the sessions is also sometimes required on a need basis.
- Once the couple comes to a decision, the mediator draws up a memorandum of understanding that specifies what issues have been resolved. This is called “Rule 11 Agreement”. This becomes a ‘binding and irrevocable’ agreement and cannot be changed.
- The statement is then given to the couple’s respective attorneys who finally make formal documentation or agreement to be presented before the court for signature.
- Even if the parties reach a partial agreement, the same procedures are followed and only the remaining issues will continue toward litigation.
- The parties can choose to walk away without a settlement and go on a trial instead.
How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?
In Texas, the average case takes a minimum of 3-4 mediation sessions. These sessions comprise of 2-3 hours each. In private divorce mediation, the couple resolves the issues related to property, child custody, alimony, and visitation in 6-7 sessions. This meditation session depends on the length of the case, as some might be resolved in a quick session, but some may require a long period of time.
Cost of Divorce Mediation in Texas
A mediator’s fee varies and is paid at the beginning of the session. Half-day settlements are common sense all but complex cases can be settled in that amount of time. It typically costs $400 to $500 per party. The expenses of witnesses shall be paid by the party producing such witnesses. All other expenses, including the fees and expenses of the mediator, shall be borne equally by the parties unless they agree otherwise.
Advantages of Mediation
- The couple has full right in decision making. They have complete control over the outcome of the conflict.
- The process is private and confidential. Even the liaison is not allowed to disclose any information to any outside party. According to the state law, all communications made during the process should remain confidential, except under limited circumstances.
- The couple must have ample amount of time to work out issues.
- The parties may stick to an order that they created themselves, rather than the one that has been imposed upon them.
Texas Divorce Mediators
It is essential to select the best divorce mediators so that they can handle your case effectively. Let us have a look at some of the divorce mediators along with their address so that it would be easier for you to consult them.
|Name of the Firm||Address|
|Law Offices of Donald L. Williams||Chase Bank Bldg. – El Paso, TX 79903|
|Peterson Law Group||3608 E. 29th Street Suite 112 – Bryan, TX 77802|
|Law Offices of Sheadyn R. Rogers, P.C. d/b/a Rogers Law Firm||5068 W Plano Parkway, Suite 300 – Plano, TX 75093|
|Williams Law Offices, PLLC||4502 W. Lovers Lane – Dallas, TX 75209|
|Covington Law Firm, PLLC||905 Front Street – Richmond, TX 77469|
|DJS Mediation Services||Watter’s Creek 825 Market Street, Suite 250 – Allen, TX 75013|
Divorce mediation in Texas is a very popular concept and preferred by most of the divorcing couples as well as the court. The statistics indicate that 80 percent of the parties who mediate reach a complete resolution. Another 10 percent of the parties reach a significant substantive resolution (like economical or parenting, but not both), while the remaining 10 percent fail to reach a resolution. Thus, this inexpensive process helps the partners to abide by the agreements.