What is mediation, you may be asking. Mediation is an event where the parties to a divorce and their attorneys meet with a neutral, third party called a mediator to attempt to settle any outstanding issues in their case.
The mediator is typically a family law attorney who has experience not only in helping parties to resolve disputes but also in directly representing parties in similar situations.
Preparing for mediation
If you fail to prepare, then you should prepare to fail. This is a quote that I’m sure many of you have read before. Despite the fact that it is an over-used saying, it is true when applied to the context of mediation in a divorce case.
Understanding the issues in your case and preparing arguments for your positions and settlement offers for the opposing party is extremely important. The mediator will typically ask that both sides’ attorneys prepare a short memo highlighting the issues of the case and anything else they believe to be important.
Especially when it comes to financial aspects of a divorce case, a spreadsheet detailing the community versus separate portions of the estate as well as your breakdown of who should get what can be helpful.
Walking into a mediation with three copies of a spreadsheet like this (one for you, one for the opposing party and one for the mediator) will put you in a good position to get the ground running as soon as mediation begins.
Mediators attempt to help parties reach their own agreement
Contrary to what many people think, parties to a divorce do not go to a mediator to have a decision made for them. On the contrary, mediation is a setting where the parties are able to work out a potential compromise and avoid having a judge make a decision for them.
A good mediator is equal parts family law attorney, negotiator and peace maker. If the mediator can help the parties come to the realization that going to Court benefits no one then they will have done their job.
What to expect at mediation
Most meditations occur at the office of the mediator. In some instances the mediation is through the county in which your divorce has been filed and held at a governmental office. For the most part, however, your private mediator’s office will be the location where you and your spouse’s mediation will take place.
Whichever party filed the divorce suit (Petitioner) will have an opportunity to have the mediator meet with him or her first. The mediator will ask questions about the parties, the issues in their case and basically try to get a feel for the party. If you think about your own situation objectively you can probably realize that both you and your spouse are not operating entirely based on facts. Your raw emotions come out in every interaction with your spouse- which is to be expected. The mediator will attempt to help each party see the case and the situation through the lens that suits them best.
The mediator will then leave the Petitioner’s room and go to a separate room where the Respondent and their attorney are seated. The same information gathered from the Petitioner will be gathered from the Respondent. After the mediator gets both sides of “the story” he or she will speak to the Petitioner about an settlement offer to make to the Respondent.
Outside the box thinking in mediation
A great advantage to seeing a mediator to settle a case, rather than going to Court to try a case, is that the mediator acts as someone who can assist the parties in coming up with creative solutions to their problems.
Many people (of which you may be one) go intomediation with the thought that their spouse is the most stubborn, unbending person on earth and that the chances of settlement are slim to none. Fortunately if you think this way, you would not be the first people to do so and definitely wouldn’t be the first person to actually have their case settle in mediation.
Another example of how a good mediator can help you and your attorney think outside of the box is by merely approaching the other party in a different way. Chances are if you are in mediation working to settle on final orders, your case has been ongoing for an extended period of time.
The parties are intimately aware of each other and at this stage in the game may be genuinely tired of dealing with one another. Mediators can help deflect the bad mood or surly attitude of one or both parties in a divorce and will push both sides towards working with rather than against each other.
The end result of mediation
What the parties in a mediation setting are wanting to have at the end of their session is a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA). This document contains the agreements that the parties arrived at during the mediation itself. The document is binding on both parties from the moment it is agreed to and neither party can change any portion of it under virtually any circumstance.
Settling your case in mediation does not end the case, however. One attorney will be designated as the party responsible for taking those agreements and drafting a final decree of divorce. This is the document that the parties will eventually sign along with the judge that essentially puts a bow on the entire divorce process.
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan can assist you in mediation
The attorneys and counselors with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are tremendous proponents of mediation. For just about any person going through a divorce mediating and settling a case is a much better choice than going to court and having a judge makes plans for the future of your family and your finances. If you are interested in learning more about our office and how we can help you navigate a divorce, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a free-of-charge consultation.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Tomball, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Tomball, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Tomball TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Tomball, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.