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How Long After Mediation is Divorce Final in Texas?

Sophia Merton
February 22, 2023

When you finish the mediation process in a Texas divorce, you’ll be ready to move forward with your divorce with a settlement agreement in hand. This might leave you wondering, how long after mediation is a divorce final in Texas?

The answer is: it depends. There are a number of steps that must still occur, and the complexity of your case, the calendar of the court, and other factors will influence precisely how long it takes.

How Long After Mediation Is Divorce Final in Texas?

How long it takes to finalize your divorce after mediation depends on a number of factors, including the court’s calendar and the complexity of your case. There is no set timeline for each of the steps that stand between you and your finalized divorce after mediation, and you also have to factor in the waiting period that is required in Texas divorces.

man in mediation discussing marital settlement agreement in texas before divorce is finalized
There are a number of steps that need to be taken between the end of mediation and the finalization of the divorce. How long these steps take depends on the complexity of your case, the calendar of the court, and more.

Once you have reached a settlement agreement as a part of mediation, there are still several more steps to take before you can have your Divorce Decree in hand. These include:

  • Filing the agreement with the court
  • Proving up the mediated settlement in front of a judge
  • Scheduling an entry date
  • Drafting the final documents
  • Agree and sign the final documents
  • Enter the signed final order and supporting documents with the court

If you and your spouse have completed mediation before the sixty-day waiting period is up, you’ll have to wait until this “cooling-off” period has passed to finalize your divorce. The waiting period begins from the time that you file your divorce petition with the court.

Of course, other factors can influence how long it takes between mediation and the finalization of your divorce. Fairly simple cases where you and your spouse don’t have much in the way of assets or property and don’t have any children will likely be finalized faster than if you're dealing with a more complicated case.

If one of your goals is to get a divorce as fast as possible, check out our post on how to get a fast divorce in Texas.

Understanding What Happens After Mediation in a Texas Divorce

In order to gain a better understanding of how long it will take after mediation for your divorce to be finalized, let’s take a look at the steps that must happen between agreeing to a mediated settlement and the judge signing your final decree of divorce.

File the Agreement With the Court

Once you and your spouse have reached a settlement agreement during mediation, the mediator will file the agreement with the court. In many instances, this happens within twenty-four hours after the agreement has been reached.

Prove-Up the Mediated Settlement in Front of a Judge

In many Texas courts, one party will need to stand before a judge to “prove up” the agreement. This is particularly true if the case involves child custody. A “prove-up” entails standing before a judge, stating that an agreement has been reached by the parties, and briefly explaining what is contained in the agreement.

Then, the judge will take a close look at the settlement agreement to make sure that it fits within the bounds of Texas family law. Though this might sound intimidating, they approve of the agreement in most cases.

Schedule an Entry Date

If a “prove-up” is not required or once the “prove-up” is complete, your attorney can request an entry date. This is a date by which all of the parties must sign and submit the final decree or order to the court.

Are you getting divorced without a lawyer? Make sure you check out our guide to getting a DIY divorce in Texas.

Draft the Final Documents

One of the attorneys in your case will begin drafting the final decree once the entry date has been set.

lawyer drafting final documents for divorce in texas after mediation
After an agreement has been reached, one of the lawyers involved will draft the final documents.

The final mediation settlement agreement documents contain all of the agreements made between the parties, but it isn’t a lengthy document written in precise and wordy legal language. They’re typically only a few pages long, meaning that the drafting process isn’t something you need to expect will draw out your divorce timeline.

Once the initial draft has been created, one of the attorneys will create a longer document that uses the appropriate legal language required for the task.

Agree and Sign the Final Documents

At the point when the final draft is completed, you, your spouse, and your lawyers will have the chance to review it. Though you might be eager to get your divorce finalized, it’s important to make sure that you agree with all of the final languages before entering it with the court.

One of the last steps in the process is both parties signing the final documents.

The parties involved will typically return to work with the mediator if there are issues with the wording in the final draft. The mediator will act as an arbitrator in this instance to help determine which language best communicates the agreement that was made during mediation.

If there is still a disagreement at this point, the parties will have the opportunity to present their side of the story to the judge on the entry date. The judge will then make a final judgment.

Enter the Signed Final Order (and Supporting Documents)

There are a number of documents you will need to submit to the court in addition to your final decree of divorce. In Texas, you will likely have to submit withholding orders and medical support orders if your case involves child support for minor children, for example.

You will also have to file your personal information sheets with the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics. If your case involves the division of property, you might need to submit special warranty deeds and qualified domestic relations orders.

It’s also worth noting that Texas divorce entry dates are frequently used as deadlines for the exchange of money or property, as outlined in the settlement agreement. That being said, this is not required, and parties can agree to alternate dates to exchange property as well.

The Judge Signs the Divorce Decree

The day is finally here– your divorce is about to be finalized! The lawsuit is complete when the judge signs the final divorce decree or order.

judge signing final decree of divorce in texas after mediation
When the judge signs your divorce decree, your divorce is finalized. However, there are still a number of steps you'll have to take on your own.

That being said, your hard work likely isn’t over yet. There are a number of steps you will want to take after your divorce to make sure all of your ducks are in a row, including:

  • Make sure that all of the documents regarding property division are filed with the court
  • Submit your property division documents to the appropriate agencies and parties
  • Prepare new estate planning documents
  • Change the titles on your vehicles and any other property
  • Obtain car insurance in only your name
  • Change your tax status
  • Change the beneficiary on your retirement accounts and life insurance, if applicable.
  • Change your name, if applicable
  • Close any joint PO boxes and safety deposit boxes
  • Close any joint bank accounts that you were awarded and reopen them in your own name.
  • Begin making child support payments, if applicable
  • Obtain health insurance if you were previously receiving health insurance from your spouse
  • Keep copies of social security documents that are related to your spouse, as you might still be eligible for their social security benefits if you were married for more than ten years
  • Obtain a copy of your divorce decree
  • Keep track of any visitation or access issues with your children after the divorce.
  • Keep copies of all of the medical expenses and records for your children

These are only a few of the things you’ll want to keep in mind after your divorce. The dissolution of a marriage is a big process, and you’ll find that divorce-related tasks remain on your to-do list for some time after your divorce is finalized.

It's best to deal with all divorce-related tasks right away rather than putting them off. Though it can feel like a lot to deal with, you'll be glad to have the entire process over with as soon as possible.

Navigating Divorce After Mediation

When you finish the mediation process in Texas, you’re often eager to have the divorce finalized as quickly as possible so you can move on with your life. Depending on the court’s calendar, the complexity of your case, and a number of other factors, though, how long it takes to complete the necessary steps can vary.

Are you looking for more resources to help you navigate your divorce before, during, or after mediation? Make sure you check out our family law blog for more articles, guides, and useful information.

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Written By:
Sophia Merton
Sophia received her BA from Vassar College. She is a researcher and writer that aims to help make the complexities of the legal system understandable to the layperson. Believing that people can be empowered by understanding their rights and responsibilities under the law, Sophia aims to offer accurate and well-researched information in straightforward and easy-to-digest legal articles.

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