Entering mediation or taking other steps to settle a divorce in Texas, instead of going to court, can lower rancor and costs. Preparation can increase the odds of a successful mediation, settlement or collaborative divorce.
Having a full and thorough understanding of finances is essential before negotiating child support, alimony or property division. Knowing what can be paid and what is needed to maintain a reasonable life style can prevent serious and unexpected long-term financial consequences.
As part of financial research, a spouse should consider what they wish to have and need after the divorce. Setting up a budget and a wish list can help determine priorities and negotiation terms.
Likewise, knowing and considering the other spouse's possible negotiating position, their wants and needs can help make settlement discussions worthwhile instead of a situation where the spouses talk over each other. For a successful settlement, this also requires cooperation and empathy.
Each spouse should also learn about their legal rights and duties in Texas. This is particularly important in child custody and support issues. However, this is usually the most difficult and emotional issue in mediation or settlement negotiations.
Given the court's concern over the welfare of the children, noncustodial parents will have to pay child support unless they have compelling reasons for a waiver. Courts may also order parenting plans and other terms that keep both parents in their children's lives. Knowing these laws, rights and duties can help make negotiations worthwhile or determine whether the case should go to court.
An attorney can provide advice on these issues and guidance on the best and worst-case scenarios associated with going to court, mediation or negotiating a settlement. This can help determine whether the case may be settled or must go to court.
A lawyer can also help the amounts of support based upon a spouse's financial situation and Texas law. Attorneys may also provide representation and protect rights in any of these proceedings.
Source: The Good Men Project, "5 easy tips on negotiating your divorce settlement agreement," By Suhail Ajamal, Jan. 11, 2018