Houston Divorce and Mediation
Mediation is a formal settlement conference in which parties do a lawsuit may settle some or all of their issues, negating the need for further litigation. Mediation is especially useful in Texas Divorce cases because of the wide range of issues often presented. Once parties reach an agreement in mediation, the signed agreement or “mediated settlement agreement” becomes binding on the parties. That means, either party may present the agreement to the court for judgement. I have outlined a few benefits to mediation, as opposed to litigation below:
1. Parties can avoid costly litigation:
Contested Divorces in Texas are expensive and the more time your divorce lawyer spends in court, the more you will be billed. With divorce attorney’s fees ranging from $350.00 per hour and up, and trial taking anywhere from a few hours to a few days, it is easy to understand why litigation costs so much money. Mediation on the other hand generally lasts a few hours. By attending mediation, the parties have a chance to sit down in a calm environment and discuss the issues with relatively no pressure. Often, a good mediator, along with the help of skilled attorneys on both sides, can craft an agreement that will benefit both sides.
2. Custom agreements can be made:
Courts follow the Texas Family Code when ruling on cases before them. The Code gives the court guidance based on state law from which the court has limited power to deviate from. For instance, the Code allows parents to agree that no person shall be the “primary” parent but rather the child’s residence remain within a geographical area. This can be achieved by agreement only and the court cannot implement the provision on its own. Many people are not aware that this option exists in a Texas divorce and once in trial, it is too late. By mediating the issues, parents can discuss these options and make decisions that otherwise may not be available.
3. You case can be resolved much faster:
A court can divorce parties on the 61st day after filing a divorce action. If a case is set for trial, the process can take anywhere from six months to a few years to be heard by the court. Mediation can be quickly schedule by the attorneys at anytime and often times prior to the mandatory 61 day period. Courts recognize the benefits of quickly resolving a case and often make mediation a requirement.
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