Going through the long, arduous, and often costly process of divorce isn’t always necessary for spouses wishing to separate. In fact, under Texas law, a judge may order you to mediate before giving a final hearing in your divorce. While it may not work for everyone, mediation can provide an easier route to ending a marriage for those who can agree to privately settle the matters of their divorce.

How Does Mediation Work?

Divorce mediation generally follows the same procedure as a divorce proceeding, but with the advantage of a more open negotiation process that allows spouses to decide for themselves what will work best for their separation. It begins with collecting information about the reasons for separation and the circumstances of the marriage, similar to the discovery process in a divorce trial. The information gathered at this stage is critical to determining how assets should be divided, as well as spousal maintenance, child custody, and other decisions that will take effect after the divorce. You should provide your attorney with as much information as possible, to ensure that the full scope of assets relevant to the marriage is considered, and allow for a fair division of assets.

Throughout the mediation, the role of the mediator is to act as a neutral party that works with both spouses to help reach an amicable resolution. The mediator is not the legal counsel of either party and as such, it’s always recommended to hire your own legal representative to provide guidance throughout the process. Instead of acting as a judge, who delivers a final verdict usually determined by some balance of metrics, the mediator seeks to assist both parties in reaching a mutually acceptable conclusion.

For spouses who are cooperative and can reach an amicable resolution, mediation provides a faster and often more preferable way to end a marriage. If a spouse is not willing to negotiate, however, mediation may become a fruitless process. Unlike a divorce taken through the courts, mediation is only legally binding if both parties come to a mutual agreement, meaning that it only takes one disgruntled spouse to block the efforts you’ve made in settling the matter. In cases like this, taking the divorce through court is often the only way to reach a final conclusion to the marriage.

If you’re considering the mediation process, or feel that a divorce is still necessary for your marriage, Contact the Law Offices of S. Dylan Pearcy today. We’re available to assist in both mediation and divorce proceedings.