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TX divorce lawyerIf you are planning to file for divorce in Texas and you know that you and your spouse have not reached an agreement about how your assets will be divided, the prospect of property division can be anxiety-inducing and complicated. Dividing assets is especially complex in high asset or high net worth divorces, where married couples own substantial amounts of valuable property in many different forms. In such cases, those parties may want to take steps to prevent the court from making the final decision about how their community property will be divided. You may know that divorcing spouses can agree to a property settlement agreement in which they determine how their community property will be divided.

However, if you are involved in a contentious separation or divorce with your spouse, you may be wondering how you could ever get to the point of reaching a property settlement agreement. Family law mediation may be beneficial. We want to tell you more about how mediation can help in such cases, and to emphasize that an experienced Texas high net worth divorce lawyer can assist with your case.

Mediation Can Cost Less Money in the Long Run

For couples expecting a high net worth divorce, mediation can be particularly helpful because it can allow the parties to save a significant amount of money that otherwise would be spent on court hearings in which the court must classify property as separate or community property, value it (which can be particularly time-consuming and complicated for the variety of assets held in high asset divorces), and distribute the property according to Texas law. With mediation, the spouses may be able to reach an agreement on a shorter timetable and at less cost.

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TX divorce lawyerA high asset divorce does not necessarily involve contested litigation. In many cases, the divorcing spouses are eager to resolve their outstanding issues and end their marriage as quickly as possible. To facilitate this, Texas law does allow for mediated settlement agreements (MSA).

An MSA is a legally binding contract signed by both parties. A mediator serves as a neutral facilitator who assists the parties, and their attorneys, in reaching an agreement. But unlike an arbitrator, the mediator does not have the legal authority to force a decision. The spouses are still free to abandon mediation at any time and take their case to litigation.

Texas Supreme Court Clarifies Law Governing Mediated Settlement Agreements

The Texas Supreme Court recently addressed an important legal question regarding MSAs: Are such agreements enforceable if they are signed before either spouse actually files for divorce?

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TX divorce lawyerAlthough in many cases it is impossible for divorcing couples to work out their issues in an out of court setting, a large percentage of families are able to come to an agreement regarding custody or property division through mediation. The benefits of mediation are even more important in high asset divorces where the possession of unique assets, such as business interests, valuable personal possessions, and real estate are at issue. To learn more about mediation and whether it is right for you, please contact one of our dedicated high asset divorce lawyers today.

The Mediation Process

The mediation process is overseen by a neutral third party, or mediator, who is tasked with hearing the parties’ issues and concerns and then facilitating negotiation, with the final goal of reaching a settlement that both parties voluntarily agree to. Although the parties will prepare for mediation as though they were going to trial by compiling financial records, lists of assets, and appraisals, the similarities end here, as mediations are non-adversarial. Furthermore, unlike a trial, communications that take place during mediation will remain confidential. In fact, if a mediation fails, mediators are not allowed to testify about anything that was discussed during the meetings at trial.

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