When going through a divorce, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what the future holds. You may have many questions about the legal divorce process in Texas, and you may not know where to turn for answers. This is where professional help comes in.
Two main types of professionals can help you with your divorce: mediators and lawyers. Both hold very different roles, so it’s crucial to understand the differences between a mediator vs. a lawyer before you make a decision about which one is right for your situation.
1. What Is a Divorce Mediator?
A divorce mediator is a neutral third party who can help you and your spouse communicate and negotiate the terms of your divorce. Mediators do not give legal advice; instead, they are known as “dispute resolution professionals” who can help you reach an agreement that accounts for both your and your spouse’s interests.
What to Expect When Working With a Divorce Mediator
When you work with a mediator, you and your spouse will meet with the mediator together to discuss your goals for the divorce. During the mediation session, the third-party professional will help you brainstorm solutions that will work for both of you. The topics of discussion during the mediation process may include the following:
- Details of your parenting plan
- Child support
- Child custody
- Property and asset division
- Other pertinent topics
Once you’ve come to an agreement, the mediator will prepare a document called a Memorandum of Understanding, which will outline the terms of your agreement. This document is not legally binding but can be used as a guide when you’re both ready to move forward with the divorce.
2. What Is a Divorce Lawyer?
A divorce lawyer is a legal professional who represents one spouse in the divorce. The lawyer’s job is to advocate for their client’s best interests and help them navigate the legal complexities of the divorce process, which is known as a suit for dissolution of marriage in Texas.
A vigilant divorce lawyer in Texas can provide several different services during divorce cases, including the following:
- Helping clients fill out and file necessary legal paperwork.
- Negotiating with the other spouse on their behalf.
- Representing them in family court if necessary.
What to Expect When Working With a Divorce Lawyer
When you work with a seasoned divorce attorney such as myself, you can expect to have someone on your side who will look out for your best interests. We will start with an initial consultation, during which we’ll discuss your goals for the divorce, and I’ll get to know you and your situation. From there, I’ll outline your divorce options so you can make an informed decision about how to move forward.
I will begin working on your behalf if you decide to move forward with securing legal representation. This may involve filing the necessary paperwork, communicating with your spouse or their lawyer, and preparing for and attending family court hearings.
In court, I will represent you and argue your case before the judge. Then, if you reach an agreement with your spouse outside of court, I can help you draft and file the necessary paperwork to make the agreement legally binding.
3. Mediator vs Lawyer: Which Professional Is Right for You?
The type of professional you choose to work with during your divorce will ultimately depend on your individual needs and circumstances. It’s not an either/or situation, as you can choose to work with both a divorce mediator and a lawyer if that would benefit your case. But in any case, you can almost certainly benefit from having a divorce lawyer on your side.
Risks of Navigating Your Divorce Without a Lawyer
If you choose to navigate the divorce process without legal representation, you will be at a disadvantage. The divorce process in Texas is complex, and there are many potential pitfalls that could cost you time, money, and stress down the road. An experienced divorce attorney can help you avoid these pitfalls and give you the best chance of coming out of the divorce with a fair resolution.
Do You Need a Mediator?
Sometimes, having a divorce mediator can also be helpful in addition to having a divorce lawyer. If you and your spouse are on relatively good terms and you’re both committed to reaching an agreement, a mediator may help you do so without going to court. But even if you’re able to reach an agreement with the help of a mediator, you should still have a lawyer review the agreement before you sign it.
It’s important to note that you may not need a mediator at all in these situations. In a collaborative divorce, for example, both spouses will ideally have their own mediation attorneys who can help them reach an agreement. So if you’re considering hiring a mediator, be sure to talk to your lawyer first to see if it’s the right option for you.
4. Contact a Texas Family Law Attorney Today
The outcome of a divorce can have a significant impact on your life, and it’s vital to make sure you’re prepared. With a qualified Texas divorce lawyer in your corner, you can be confident that you have a knowledgeable legal advocate assisting you through the process.
Whether you’re considering a divorce or are just getting started with the process, I am here to help you. When you turn to my law office, I will work hard to protect your personal interests and ensure that you receive all legal protections during your divorce.
I currently help spouses in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County navigate the legal divorce process in Texas. If you live in one of these counties, please contact me for legal support.
Call my offices today at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to request a consultation about your divorce. I can provide you with more information about the differences between a mediator vs. lawyer to help you decide the best course of action for your situation.