Divorce Mediation: Is It Right for You?
Mediation is what is known as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process that is sometimes required in family law cases, including divorce. The mediation process involves a neutral third-party who acts as the mediator and facilitates the divorcing spouses – along with their respective divorce attorneys – in the settlement negotiation process. If a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA) is reached and signed by both of you, it becomes an irrevocable settlement agreement that you can enforce in the future.
When Does Mediation Happen?
Generally, mediation happens as a means of staving off litigation (where the court resolves those divorce issues for which you and your divorcing spouse are unable to find a middle ground). At this point in the divorce process, both of you have had time to gather your financial documents and other important evidence and to determine what your divorce priorities are, which lends itself well to mediation.
You Can Go to Mediation Prior to Filing for Divorce
The State of Texas is motivated to facilitate the least contentious divorces possible, and as such, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in a 2019 case (Highsmith v. Highsmith) that an MSA can be executed prior to filing for divorce. As such, divorce mediation allows participants the opportunity to resolve important divorce matters even before they file with the court.
Should I Consider Mediation?
Mediation can be a great option for divorcing couples, but the most salient point to consider is that mediation is a voluntary process (even when it is required). While you can be required to attend mediation, you cannot be forced to reach an agreement in mediation. As such, if you think you and your divorcing spouse are both willing to engage in the mediation process in good faith, moving forward with mediation is well advised. If, on the other hand, you believe your divorcing spouse is committed to digging in his or her heels and is not going to give an inch unless forced to do so, mediation can ultimately end up being a waste of time and money.
What Kind of Prep Do We Need to Do?
Before you attend mediation, you will want to have your divorce priorities in order (know those divorce terms that are most important to you). In addition to this, it is important to have thorough financial documentation that includes all of the following:
A listing of all those accounts that are marital property
A listing of your separate property
A listing of your marital debts
A listing of your personal property, including jewelry, art, vehicles. and anything else of value
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Killeen Divorce Attorney Today
Mediation can be a great way to hammer out divorce terms that you can live with, and Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is an accomplished divorce attorney who has had great success guiding clients like you through the mediation process. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.