If you are facing a divorce case, you may be wondering what to expect. In some cases, spouses are able to work things out and enter into a settlement agreement. In most cases, judges will approve a visitation schedule that parents have worked out themselves. When parents can’t agree, they may be ordered to attend mediation, or have the court may make decisions regarding custody and a visitation schedule after a hearing.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Mediation involves a third-party mediator who listens to both sides in a divorce case present their arguments about why they should have primary custody of a child. A mediator’s job is to work with both parents and their attorney to try to work out an agreement. A Round Rock divorce lawyer can help you prepare for mediation and present arguments on your behalf to a mediator.
If an agreement is reached in mediation, the attorneys will draft a settlement agreement for you to sign. All settlement agreements must be approved by a judge and filed with the clerk’s office before they become official. After an agreement and order is entered in a case, you are bound by the terms of any court orders.
If mediation doesn’t work out, your case will proceed to a contested custody hearing. You will have an opportunity to testify, and a Round Rock family law attorney can call witnesses to support your side of the case. If you are the plaintiff (or individual who filed, the case) you will be allowed to present your case first.
After hearing all the evidence, a judge will decide based on the facts of the case and what the court believes is in the best interests of any minor children. A Round Rock divorce attorney may be permitted to present closing arguments about why the court should rule in your favor.
A judge may order parents to share joint custody or may order one parent to have primary physical custody with the other parent being granted visitation according to the court’s standard visitation schedule.
Joint custody is becoming more common since many judges are recognizing that it is best for children to spend as much time with each parent as possible. However, judges usually prefer to award custody to one parent if it does not appear based on all the evidence presented that parents will be able to agree on major issues like scheduling.
Many people choose to work out an agreement because a judge’s decisions can be unpredictable. A Round Rock family law attorney may be able to help you negotiate an agreement that works for everyone. Keep in mind that you may not get everything you want, but a compromise may be best so you can negotiate for what is most important to you.
If you need legal advice from a Round Rock divorce lawyer, contact the Jackson Firm. A Round Rock divorce attorney at The Jackson Law Firm can assist you at every stage of your divorce proceedings and work to get you the best outcome possible.