Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What happens after a Mediated Settlement Agreement is reached?

There are many questions you may have about the process of going through divorce mediation in Texas, but all too often the subject of what happens next gets forgotten.  Under the guidance of a trained mediator, you’ll be working towards a final agreement that addresses the key issues of the divorce.  This may involve compromising and cooperating to agree on final terms.

After you have reached an agreement the points you have come to terms with need to be included in a contract.  You should review this document carefully.  Many couples who choose to use mediation instead of litigation are hoping to avoid courtrooms, so be sure that the agreement is something that you can live with and that you understand the terms inside it. 

After you have reviewed your Texas divorce mediation agreement, it will be signed and the Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA) can be filed via email at the district clerk's office and it goes into your courthouse file.  The MSA can then be turned into a final order for the judge to sign.  You can attempt to do this yourself or you can hire a family law attorney to do it.  You might want to hire an attorney since there might be other forms that need to be prepared (real estate, document to split retirement account(s), child support withholding, county form(s) and a required Texas form.  After the judge signs the final order and other paperwork,  the divorce will become legal and binding just as if the parties had elected to hire separate attorneys to represent them in a divorce.  Once you have received word that your divorce is final, you can move on with your life and comply with the terms included in your mediation agreement.

Since the terms of your mediation agreement will have such a big impact on your post-divorce life, it’s essential to choose a mediator who is focused on helping you and your spouse achieve resolution.  As a party to mediation, you’ll play a bigger role in determining what that final agreement looks like and what it says, so use this advantage to the fullest.  Feeling confident in the terms of the agreement makes it much easier to part ways or even to continue interacting with the spouse regarding children. 

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