How Does Mediation Compare To The Court Process In A Divorce Case?
Description: The Attorneys at Hardy Law Group, PLLC. explain,
A divorce can be resolved in a number of ways. The traditional way is to allow for a trier of fact to make the decision, meaning a judge or a jury. Typically, it’s a bench trial without a jury. However, in Texas, a party can demand a jury with regard to limited issues. The trial processes is adversarial in nature, meaning the parties fight it out in court. The process can involve significant litigation: pretrial hearings, depositions, discovery, and negotiations. If the case does get to a final trial, the judge will take evidence during the trial and issue his decision.
Another popular method of resolving a divorce involves mediation. In mediation, you’ve got a neutral third party, a mediator, and they assist the parties in reaching a final resolution on all the contested issues. The mediator is neutral and has no dog in the fight, so to speak. The mediator’s goal is to settle the matter. A qualified mediator will have extensive knowledge of not only the law but the judges in your county and how things are done. A mediator will likely know how the judge in your court would rule in a certain hypothetical situation and will convey that to the parties, so that they understand what a likely result would be. If they don’t settle, they go to court. In a contested divorce, the results in mediation cost a lot less than if you were to take the same case to trial.
Mediation is informal, so it’s not constrained by the rules of procedure and evidence, which exists inside the courthouse. This allows the parties to speak freely and openly and that’s a big advantage. It’s less stressful and the atmosphere is relaxed. The parties are separated in different rooms and they often never even see each other. The mediator simply goes back and forth between the parties, exchanging offers and counteroffers. They make suggestions and hopefully, a settlement is reached. Another big benefit to mediation is that it’s binding. A signed mediated settlement agreement is irrevocable and the terms and conditions of that agreement become incorporated into a final decree of divorce.
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