New Limits for Mediated Settlement Agreements?
On February 28, the Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of In Re Stephanie Lee. The issue in the case is whether a court may refuse to enter an order based on a Mediated Settlement Agreement if the court believes the agreement is not in the best interest of the child.
Mediated Settlement Agreements have a long history of being accepted by judges virtually without question in countless divorce cases throughout all of Texas. The reason is simple, a Mediated Settlement Agreement reflects the agreement of the parties to the divorce and it would take a compelling reason for a judge to interfere with that agreement. That compelling reason may have appeared in the radar of the judiciary in the form of the children who are impacted severely by divorce settlements. The children are not involved in the Mediation process and in many cases have almost no input into what parent they will spend their time with and how they will spend their time with that parent.
In Texas, every judge is legally obligated to only enter an order that it believes is in the best interests of the children. What is a judge supposed to do when confronted with a Mediated Settlement Agreement that it believes it not in the best interests of the children? We will find out soon enough, but to avoid this situation in your Woodlands Divorce always remember to reach a settlement agreement that is in the best interest of your children.