Most couples can benefit from a mediated divorce settlement rather than going through traditional litigation and trial in the courtroom. If you and your spouse prefer an efficient final divorce instead of slogging through months or years of punishing litigation, then mediation is probably right for you. Here are five reasons why mediation can benefit divorcing couples during the divorce process and in the years to follow:
- Mediation necessitates transparency and open communication. Rather than creating a false dichotomy of “winners” and “losers,” mediation encourages couples to work together on a solution. During divorce litigation, the two sides often become entrenched and cease communication. By design, mediation is a collaborative process that is guided by a trained mediator. A good mediator will help each party appreciate the big picture and understand the other side’s approach to the problems. This usually leads to early win-win settlements.
- Meditation saves time and money. Traditional litigation with a final trial in the courtroom serves a function in the divorce process but the costs associated with trial usually run into the extreme in terms of both time and money. Mediation usually brings about a much more efficient conclusion to a divorce. Most Texas divorces are resolved in a single afternoon of mediation. Some cases take longer to resolve due to changing fact patterns involving the parties or their children. Cases like this might require multiple mediation sessions scheduled over a few weeks or a few months. Regardless of the total amount of time needed for mediation, it will almost always be cheaper and easier than litigating in the courthouse.
- Mediation puts you in control. When you take a matter to trial you are allowing strangers (the judge and/ or jury) to make important decisions in resolving your case. Television courtrooms are not accurate portrayals of reality. At trial, it is unlikely that you will get to tell your complete side of the story to the court. Judges and juries are human, with human prejudices and limitations. Trial is a gamble and you might not like the outcome. Mediation flips that script, allowing you and your spouse to create a custom solution to your divorce. Mediation allows you to draw out all of the important facts in your story, without the strict rules of evidence that come with court. Mediators can help you understand likely outcomes at trial and circumvent a lot of frustration.
- It will give you a chance to hone communication skills. If you have dependent children, you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse will need to be in regular communication after the divorce is finalized. Despite being divorced, you will still be in a “family” relationship. As with any other relationship, dealing with kids in a post-divorce environment requires some honesty and occasional compromise. Coming to an agreement on how to handle dependent child issues during mediation is great practice for navigating this new relationship with your ex-spouse.
- Mediation allows for privacy. One of the most attractive features of mediation is the confidentiality it affords. While proceedings in divorce court are matters of public record, details of your mediation will remain private. “What happens in mediation stays in mediation.” Offers made and details discussed in mediation cannot be used as evidence in court if the matter does not settle. If you are worried about your reputation or standing after the airing of dirty laundry, mediation can be a fantastic route for handling your divorce.
Mediation is appealing to many divorcing couples because of the control it gives them during the process, as well as the time and money it saves. Most counties in Texas require divorcing couples to enter into mediation before presenting issues to the court for a ruling. To make sure mediation is optimal for you, please give our firm a call at (713) 844-8396.