At one point or another, most people have heard of the process referred to as “mediation” in family law. Most people understand that mediation is essentially an alternative to the traditional, court-based divorce process. However, few people know much about the details of how the mediation process works. Mediation is an increasingly common alternative, both in Texas and throughout the nation, mainly because it offers several key advantages. Depending on the specifics of the situation, mediation can be a viable method for developing the agreements (i.e. child custody, visitation, etc.) necessary to accomplish a divorce.
In this post, we will go over the essentials of the mediation procedure here in Texas. Then, we will point out the two main advantages of this process.
Basic Overview of the Mediation Process
Mediation has a formal structure which is consistent from one case to another; however, the results of any given mediation depend completely on the facts, circumstances and desires of the parties involved. In other words, although the mediation structure is predictable, the outcome of any given mediation is not so predictable. A single person will assume the role of the “mediator” in the mediation process. This person literally acts as the facilitator who assists both sides of the aisle in coming to agreements on the disputes of the divorce. In mediation, both sides attempt to independently come to agreement on any disputed issues of the divorce, such as child custody, visitation, property division, asset protection, alimony and so forth.
The process roughly goes something like this: the mediator goes back and forth between the two parties, who are usually located in separate rooms; each party consults with his or her lawyer during the process; if the parties are able to reach an agreement, then the agreement is written down in something called a “mediated settlement agreement,” or MSA. This MSA is then used to produce a formal final order, which is then signed by the parties, the lawyers, and the judge overseeing the case. If the parties reached an agreement on all aspects of the divorce, then the divorce is finished. If, however, the parties only reached an agreement on certain aspects of the divorce, then the case proceeds to court where the remaining issues are litigated.
Big Advantages: Lower Stress & Better Finances
Why do people choose mediation over the traditional litigation process? The reason is because mediation offers certain benefits in many cases. There is no guarantee that mediation will provide these benefits in every situation; everything really depends on the attitudes and intentions of the parties involved. But mediation has a track record of yielding positive results for those who go through it.
Arguably the two main benefits of mediation are lower stress and lower costs. Because mediation occurs outside of a courtroom, there is usually much less stress involved. What’s more, the parties can schedule their mediation sessions on their own, they don’t need to adjust to the court’s docket. In short, mediation is generally a more relaxed environment when compared with the usual court environment.
The other main benefit is the lower costs of mediation. There is no way to predict how much a given mediation will cost, but in general the costs are typically lower than litigation. Mediation can cost more or less depending on the number of sessions involved, the fee of the mediator, the fee of the lawyers, and so forth. In many cases, the parties involved can save thousands and thousands of dollars when they select mediation over litigation.
Contact The Ramage Law Group for More Information
This is just an overview of the mediation process and its primary benefits. There is more to know when it comes to mediation here in the State of Texas. Given the clear advantages of mediation in many cases, we can expect more and more Texans to choose this option in the future. If you’d like to learn more, go ahead and reach out to The Ramage Law Group today by calling 469-899-3533 .