Divorce has a reputation for being a nasty, contentious process. In fact, divorce is listed as the second most stressful life event that people experience, just behind death of a spouse. But divorce doesn’t have to be angry and combative. Of course, ending a marriage and parting ways as a couple will probably always be stressful in some capacity, choosing mediation, rather than a traditional divorce litigation, can help you start this new chapter of your life in a more peaceful, satisfactory way. As part of National Mediation Awareness Week, learn how mediation can help you with your divorce in Texas and how Texas Legal plans include mediation as part of their divorce and family law coverage.
What is Mediation?
In a traditional divorce, each spouse gets a lawyer to fight on their behalf for a settlement: who gets what, who gets custody, how much spousal support or child support will be paid, etc. It’s a fight, with both sides hoping to get what they want, and often, to keep the other side from getting their way. It’s a process that can be long, expensive and create grudges that will impact the relationship for years to come.
Mediation, however, focuses on achieving a solution that makes both parties happy. Instead of both sides lawyering up, a couple chooses a mediator, often a family law attorney, to help them create a voluntary divorce agreement that both of them can agree upon. Many Texas counties require mediation as a step in the divorce process to see if a successful outcome can be achieved outside the courtroom first. However, couples can choose mediation before a court orders them to try it as a way of resolving their case without getting the court involved.
What are the Benefits of Mediation?
Mediation can be better than traditional divorce in several ways, including:
- less expensive
- higher success rate
- more flexibility in finding solutions
- better future relationship as ex-spouses and co-parents
What is Mediation Like?
Mediation sessions can happen in several different ways. You may meet together with your spouse and the mediator, or you can also meet separately. You may have a single session to work out all your issues and needs, or you may need many session over many months. Your mediator will help you determine what issues need to be addressed and ask questions about your needs, constraints and hopes for dividing your assets, creating a custody or parenting agreement and child or spousal support. When everyone agrees on a solution, the mediator will create an agreement that both parties sign that will be filed with the court.
This helpful video from attorney Barry Davis gives insight into what a mediation session can look like between spouses:
How Can Mediation Help You?
Divorce can be expensive, especially if you have a contentious legal battle. The average cost of a litigated divorce is $25,000, while the average cost of a mediated divorce is $6,000-7,000. Because the attorneys have a much more limited role, mediation is significantly less expensive.
Second, because mediation is solution-oriented, it can help you and your partner start this new phase in your relationship from a better place. Let an attorney help you create a parenting plan and custody arrangement that will work for both you and your ex. Especially if you have children, mediation can help you begin your journey as co-parents with less animosity and stress, which will be better for your children and your family.
Does Texas Legal Cover Mediation?
If you’re a member of Texas Legal, your plan covers mediation as part of your family law benefits, meaning it won’t cost you anything. There is a six-month waiting period after becoming a member for using your family law benefits. so if you think a divorce may be in your future, consider becoming a member right away so that your benefits will be available when you need it. Texas Legal has over 500 network attorneys in every corner of Texas, and you can locate a family law attorney using our online Attorney Finder or by calling our customer service line at 1-800-252-9346.