A common misconception surrounding divorce mediation is that the goal is for two divorcing spouses to reconcile their differences in order to save their marriage. Mediation is not counseling and your divorce mediator will never try to push tactics for healing your marriage on you. The goal of mediation is simple, to help both parties have productive communication while coming up with a mutually beneficial and amicable divorce agreement.
Divorce mediation costs less than traditional divorce because it allows both parties the opportunity to have a direct conversation about serious matters such as child custody, child support, property division, and more. Traditional divorces can take much longer and cost significantly more because all communication goes through attorneys.
Mediation also allows divorcing couples more privacy than traditional divorce. This is because any divorce agreement or evidence submitted leading up to a finalized divorce agreement is public. This can mean your tax records, information surrounding your finances, problems in the marriage, and more are available for anyone to see. When you choose to reach an agreement through the divorce mediation process, all the specifics of your divorce will be kept private between the divorcing couple and the neutral mediator.
How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take in Texas?
Texas has a minimum 60 day waiting period after filing for a divorce before it can be finalized. This 60 day waiting period starts the day the original petition for divorce is filed with the court. This petition may be filed before mediation, during, or after.
If you are looking for the fastest timeline for your divorce, it is possible to have your divorce finalized on the 61st day after filing with the courts. It is important to realize every divorce case and mediation process is different.
While many couple may find they are able to work out all of the major factors of their divorce agreement in one mediation session, others may require more time. Additionally, mediation does not work for all couples making it difficult to predict exactly how long your divorce will take to go through.
How Does Mediation Work?
The mediation process starts once you and your spouse agree to use this method of alternative dispute resolution and choose your mediator. In most states, mediation is voluntary, so if either spouse disagrees and wants to follow the traditional divorce route, a court won’t force your spouse to engage in mediation. That said, there are some states where the court requires couples to demonstrate a good faith effort in mediation before scheduling additional court hearings.
Mediation will only work if both spouses are open to negotiating the terms of the divorce. Typically, you’ll set up an initial meeting between the spouses and the mediator. During the first meeting, each spouse will have the opportunity to explain expectations for the most common divorce-related issues, including:
- property division
- child custody and visitation
- child support, and
- alimony or spousal support.
This initial discussion will help the mediator gain an idea of how far apart you are and what areas need the most work.
Aside from statutory limitations of divorce, mediation doesn’t have a time limit. You can continue to mediate and work on your divorce judgment for as long as you, your spouse, and the mediator would like. Naturally, the longer it takes and the more meetings you have, the more expensive it becomes. You can decide to meet once per week, monthly, or at any other time. Most couples can resolve mediation with a few sessions, which typically costs thousands of dollars less than litigating your case in court.
Once you agree on all the outstanding issues, the mediator will draft a divorce settlement agreement for both spouses (and their attorneys) to review, sign, and present to the judge.
Divorce Attorney for Mediation in Houston
Attorney Dawn Renken is a practicing family law attorney in Texas, who specializes in divorce cases in Houston, TX. Attorney Renken received her mediation license through ADR Services International Inc. in 2014. Since this time, she has worked with a wide range of divorcing couples looking for alternatives to traditional courtroom divorces.
Divorce Mediator Serving Houston Texas
Renken Law Firm is here to help couples who wish to dissolve their marriage, whether that be through divorce or legal separation. We are here to help those who are ending marriages that have been contested, uncontested, or collaborative. We are fully prepared to help you navigate the specifics of your case. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.
Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
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