Mediated Settlement Agreements in Texas
When you have decided to file for divorce, it does not always proceed to a court case. You have the option to attend mediation or the judge can order you to undergo mediation proceedings.
There are actually many benefits to mediation. It will save both parties time, money and the tension of a court battle. However, mediation can only work if both you and your spouse can agree on a mutual settlement. This is a mediated settlement agreement (MSA).
MSAs on Divorce
The process of mediation starts when you and your spouse agree on a mediator. A divorce mediator will meet with you and cover every aspect of the divorce, including custody, property division, spousal support and alimony, and visitation. He will present the legal options available.
It is better to settle amicably, but this entails that you and your spouse are on speaking terms and agreeable to the divorce. If there is any animosity, there could be conflict even at the slightest disagreements.
Mediation does not require a full or partial agreement, but the mediator and the petitioner’s attorneys can record the proceedings, agreements and the respective positions and demands of both spouses in the Mediated Settlement Agreement. In any case, if there is any issue left unsettled, then the couple will proceed to a court trial.
One of the most sensitive issues in a divorce is child custody. It should be understood that American law would always prescribe joint custody whenever applicable. If both parents do not have any reasons to disqualify themselves from custody, the starting point of custody mediation would be based on joint custody.
Of course, every couple presents a unique situation and there are issues that would definitely be considered. For instance, if you are the one who gets to stay in the family home, then it is up to your ex-spouse to prove that he/she can also provide proper housing for the child.
Mediation as an Option
One thing to consider, a mediator is not a judge and he does not have the authority to approve the decree and execute the conditions. The goal of the mediator is to guide both parties to an agreement.
It is also important to remember that you do not have to compromise against your will just to reach an agreement. If there are points that you find indisputable, it would be better to let the petition proceed to trial.