Divorce Mediation Texas
When a couple begins the divorce process in Texas, there are many ways to expedite the process and reduce the potential expense. For spouses who are not able to resolve their differences privately, it may be undesirable to seek out divorce mediation in Texas. In this process, a couple meet with a neutral advisor who attempts to have them resolve any areas of dispute before appearing in court.
The purpose of divorce mediation in Texas is to come to terms on how to handle:
• Alimony payments
• Child custody arrangements
• Dividing mutually owned property
• Visitation rights
• Child support payments
• Paying off jointly acquired debts
The divorce process begins when one spouse files a petition of complaint with their applicable family court. If their spouse does not contest the divorce when they are served with a copy of the complaint, the couple is free to pursue a resolution to their separation by any means they feel are necessary.
When a divorce is uncontested but couples cannot resolve all their issues, it is advisable to seek out divorce mediation in Texas. This means a neutral third party or parties will sit in on meetings designed to help the couple resolve their issues rather than relying upon the final ruling of a judge. There is no set protocol for how long this process can take. Some couples may be able to discover mutually acceptable compromises within the course of a single session, while others may find the process to be prolonged.
A divorce mediator may be an attorney, but in many cases this professional is simply a licensed mediator who is qualified to help couples discuss their differences. Non-lawyer mediators are prohibited from offering legal advice.
Regardless of the nature of the sessions held during the process of divorce mediation in Texas, none of the statements which are made during these meetings will be submitted to the court. Both spouses should feel free to speak openly and frankly. The only legally binding consequence of these sessions will come from any written separation agreement that emerges as a result.
If a spouse chooses to exercise their right to file an official response that does not consent to the divorce or disagreeing with any of the proposed terms of separation, the couple may be ordered to submit to mandatory divorce mediation in Texas. Rules vary from county to county, but it is almost certain that this process will be ordered if there is any disagreement over child custody arrangements or visitation rights for the non-custodial parent. However, if one spouse has been the victim of domestic abuse, they may apply to have these sessions waived.
When a judge orders mediation, spouses may not be able to agree on who they wish to use to mediate. In this case, the court will appoint a mediator. Should a couple not be able to afford for private mediation services, the judge will refer them to the appropriate government division or to a pro bono mediator.
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