Divorce mediation has been gaining popularity in recent years, with some courts even requiring sessions as part of the divorce process. In Texas, courts do not mandate mediation for every contested divorce, but judges may refer parties to mediation if they deem it necessary.
Even if the judge does not instruct you to go through mediation, you may consider doing so anyway. In many cases, mediation can offer a variety of benefits that litigation cannot. Your lawyer can advise you as to whether mediation will be beneficial in your particular circumstances.
Cooperation, not conflict
The significant difference between mediation and litigation is the former’s emphasis on cooperative solutions. For many, divorce elicits a high level of hostility and bitterness so it can feel natural to adopt an antagonistic stance towards areas of conflict. However, learning to work together can benefit both of you by helping you create solutions that work in the long term. If you have children, mediation can give you and your ex the tools to work together as parents even after you stop being spouses.
Creating your own solutions
Because mediation allows for more flexibility, you will have more control over the outcome. The mediator cannot force the two of you to settle anything. This makes it easier to come up with solutions both of you can commit to.
You can mediate even if you fight
You do not need to get along well to benefit from mediation. Often, a mediator is able to reduce conflict levels and help you and your ex communicate effectively.
When mediation may not benefit you
Not everyone benefits from mediation. Notable examples include cases where the parties cannot be on an equal footing for a fair negotiation due to issues such as abuse or manipulation. Mediation can also result in unfairness if one spouse is part of the 7.2 million Americans who hide assets from their partners, as mediators cannot force either party to produce evidence or tell the truth.
Mediation can help the divorce process go more smoothly but will not work for everyone. A knowledgeable attorney can help you make the right decision for yourself and provide the support you need whichever road you decide to take.