If you and your spouse have arrived at the point in your marriage where a Texas divorce appears likely, neither of you probably relishes the thought of an expensive, lengthy court battle during which you hurl accusations at each other across a crowded courtroom. Take heart. Divorce need not be that way.
If you seek a more amicable way to end your marriage, you would do well to consider mediation. Not only can mediation cost as much as 40-60 percent less than a traditional litigated divorce, this out-of-court process allows you and your spouse to maintain control over your respective lives instead of leaving important life-altering decisions up to a judge. Since the two of you resolve your own differences during mediated negotiations, you save yourself the excessive stress associated with many litigated divorces. Best of all, you may be able to obtain your divorce without either of you having to step foot inside a courtroom.
The first step in the mediation process is for you and your spouse to agree on and hire a neutral mediator. Bear in mind that this person represents neither of you. Instead, (s)he acts as your facilitator to guide you through the process whereby the three of you hold a series of meetings in a neutral, non-threatening environment in which neither of you can intimidate or run roughshod over the other.
During mediation, you and your spouse resolve all your differences with regard to issues such as the following:
- Which of you, if either, will have primary custody of your children
- Which of you will pay child support and how much
- Which of you, if either, will pay spousal support to the other and how much
- Which of you will receive which marital property
- Which of you, if either, will continue to live in the family home
Your mediator will see to it that each of you has the opportunity to express your concerns, desires and opinions, while always respecting the other’s right to express his or hers as well. In addition, to borrow from a long-running TV commercial, “what happens in mediation stays in mediation.” What this means is that all meetings are completely confidential and nothing anyone says can later be used against you or them in court.
The whole purpose of mediation is to give you and your spouse the opportunity to behave like adults, solve your own problems, and resolve your own issues. One of mediation’s biggest benefits, however, may be the effect it has on your children. When they see their parents working together to resolve conflicts through compromise, this becomes a powerful example for them as they face their own future conflicts.