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10 Reasons to Mediate
1) It Costs Much Less
When both spouses meet with one Divorce Mediator they can share the cost, which is commonly $800.00 to $5000.00 total. If the spouses were to retain separate attorneys to represent them in the divorce, each would be paying a simple retainer of $1500.00-$4500.00 just to get started. The average cost of divorce in the State of Texas is nearing $18.000.00. Mediation cost much less.
2) You Have Complete Control
In Divorce Mediation the couple controls how quickly or slowly decisions are made, when the divorce Petition is filed, and what the terms of the divorce will be in the Marital Settlement Agreement. Each step is by agreement, in contrast to the adversarial process in which attorneys set court dates and judges make decisions with very limited time and information.
3) The Documents are Prepared for You
Many people try to do their own divorces these days, but run into difficulty trying to understand the laws and the complex paperwork involved. A mediator can prepare and file all of the paperwork and documents necessary for the parties to represent themselves successfully.
4) It is Less Stressful on the Family and Children
The worst aspect of a divorce for the children is the conflict between the parents. It will be traumatic enough for them, but they can heal knowing that their parents are working together to make adult decisions and will not put them in the middle.
5) Easier on You
The way your marriage ends will significantly impact the way you approach your future relationships. When you use a mediator to help both of you communicate and make important decisions, it can be easier to move forward and accept the past, rather than turning hurt and anger into an expensive court battle.
6) You Can Still Go to Court
When people use divorce mediation, they do not give up their right to go to court. If you are not satisfied in mediation, you can discontinue the process at any time, retain a separate attorney and have the judge decide the specific issues. What has occurred in mediation will remain confidential, so the parties can start fresh.
7) You Get Legal Information
In divorce mediation you will be provided with enough legal information to make your own decisions about what is fair and equitable. While a mediator cannot advise either party, the mediator can share his or her general knowledge of how the court might address the issues in your case. Each spouse is also encouraged to consult with an attorney for legal advise, especially prior to signing the Marital Settlement Agreement.
8)Emotions Can be Managed
Many people simply want to be heard and understood in the divorce process. However, on their own this can get out of control, as each person triggers anger and resentment in the other, often times unintentionally. A mediator trained in counseling can assist the parties in acknowledging feelings but not allowing feelings to control the decision-making process.
9) It is Completely Confidential
In a private divorce mediation, all discussions and tentative agreements are strictly confidential. This makes it safe to propose solutions for possible consideration without having them all thought out. This can lead to new solutions neither party had previously considered.
10) It Reinforces and Builds on the Positive
In mediation, both parties are encouraged to recognize the positive in the other person and to find common ground for agreement. In court, each side must emphasize the negative the other person in order to "win" against the other. Especially when there will be future contact between the parties, such as in parenting, whatever goodwill remains between the parties should be preserved and not destroyed.
Texas requires that divorcing spouses try mediation before going to trial. Spouses can request a jury trial, but generally a judge decides the trial rather than a jury. Mediation is an ideal way to prevent the element of surprise that comes with taking a divorce case to trial. Many judges will tell you that a divorce trial has no winners, because the outcome is rarely in favor of just one party.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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