Throughout the state of Texas, and across the United States, Canada, and many other countries, couples going through a divorce have the opportunity to enter into a mediated settlement in lieu of going through a divorce hearing.
The mediation often occurs with each party to the divorce and their respective divorce attorney sitting down with a neutral third-party, a mediator, to develop an agreed-upon settlement. This settlement can include division of property and assets, management of debt, child custody agreements, and parenting plans.
As such, the mediated settlement becomes the terms of the divorced, with the settlement filed with and approved by the respective Southlake court. The advantage for most couples is the process is much faster than going through court, it allows the couple to set their own terms for the divorce, and it tends to help limit conflict when a judge imposes a settlement that neither party to the divorce may have wanted.
It is important to note that even if the divorce attorney is present and signs off on the MSA (mediated settlement agreement), it is not a divorce decree, and the marriage is not dissolved at this point. Only the court can make the MSA a divorce decree, and there may be times when issues change between the agreement of the MSA and the court.
What Can Be Modified?
It is not common for an MSA to be modified or changed. It can occasionally occur in the 60 day waiting period that is mandatory from the date of the filing of the petition and the granting of the divorce decree by the court.
There may also be times after the divorce decree where the facts have changed that require modification. These are limited to the issues that impact the parent-child relationship. These issues are typically changes in income, such as loss of a job, the move outside of the state or away from contiguous counties, or other similar types of significant issues.
In these cases, talking to a divorce attorney is critical for the Southlake parent. Issues such as division of property are not eligible for modification after the decree.
If you are interested in learning more about mediated settlement agreements, talk to an experienced divorce attorney at Orsinger, Nelson, Dowing & Anderson, LLP .