Informal Settlement Agreements in Divorce

If you are involved in a divorce case and you no longer want to fight on the issues, you and your spouse can enter into an agreement. The question is on whether you take the mediation or informal route. Thus, you contact your attorney at Guest & Gray, P.C. in Forney, Texas to discuss your options in more detail.

Mediation can be more expensive. This is because mediation consists of you, the other party and your attorneys and a mediator that both parties must pay their fee. The fees range depending upon what mediator you choose or that is ordered by the court. With mediation, you and your attorney sit in one room and the other party and their attorney sit in another room and the mediator goes back and forth as a neutral problem solver and takes offers back and forth trying to promote a settlement. If it is a contested case and the parties cannot informally settle the case, most courts require mediation before a final hearing can be held.

However, if you and the other party and your attorneys feel that you can settle this matter absent the necessity of having a neutral third party present to relay offers and keep the peace then informal settlement may be the best option for you. This can take several forms such as the attorneys relaying offers back and forth without anyone getting together or the attorneys can arrange where the parties and attorneys meet to discuss the matter and finalize.

If an informal settlement is successful, it must be in writing. This can either be in the form of a Rule 11 Agreement or it can be in the form of an Agreement Incident to Divorce as outlined in Texas Family Code Section 7.006. Much like a Rule 11 Agreement, until an order or judgment is rendered that encompasses the Agreement Incident to Divorce, subsection (a) states that the Agreement Incident to Divorce “can be revised or repudiated before the divorce is rendered unless the agreement is binding under another rule of law.” Thus, this also suggests like a Rule 11 Agreement, an Agreement Incident to Divorce can be enforceable as a contract. Should the other party back out, to enforce the Agreement Incident to Divorce or informal settlement agreement your attorney must file a motion to enforce and sue the other party for breach of contract.

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