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Facing Divorce? Pros and Cons of Mediation

Mediated and litigated, “traditional” divorce lead to the same place: you end up separated from your spouse, you divide your assets, and you reach some sort of custody agreement for your children, if you have any. So what difference does it make if you get there through mediation or a litigated divorce?

In mediation, you work with a neutral mediator who helps you and your spouse come to agreement on all aspects of your divorce. The law does not require the mediator to be an attorney, but he or she must be someone well-versed in divorce and family law. The mediator must remain neutral and not advocate for either party or even give you advice — his or her sole job is to help you reach agreement.

Some of the pros of mediation include its potential to:

  • Reduce expenses
  • Expedite an agreement
  • Help you stay in control, because you are making the decisions and have time to consider their effect on your family life
  • Be easier on children, because the divorce proceedings may be less contentious
  • Result in a better long-term relationship with your ex, especially important if you have children together

But mediation also has its cons:

  • If mediation fails, you still have to litigate your divorce, which will cost more time and money.
  • If the mediator is biased toward your ex or against you for any reason, he or she may unintentionally push for an unfair or unfavorable agreement.
  • Mediation may reinforce the same unhealthy behavior patterns that led to your divorce — if one party is particularly dominant and the other submissive, that may be unfairly reflected in the mediation agreement.
  • Because all financial disclosure in mediation is voluntary, your spouse may be able to hide assets.

Houston courts and most family courts in Texas require mediation for divorcing couples. If you and your spouse are able to come to a divorce agreement through mediation, you will still have to appear in court to confirm your divorce agreement. Regardless of how your divorce proceeds, work with a skilled family lawyer to protect your rights and your assets, through litigated divorce or mediation.

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Robert Reid McInvale
Attorney at Law

Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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