This article addresses Divorce Mediation in Texas; when it is required and how it can be helpful.
What is Divorce and Family Law Mediation?
Divorce and Family Law Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution used in many family law cases in Texas. Mediation is a process where the parties to a divorce meet with a neutral trained person called a “mediator”. The mediator helps the parties try and resolve areas of conflict.
What is a Divorce and Family Law Mediator?
Divorce and family law mediators often have extensive experience practicing as lawyers in these fields. Many of them are retired family law judges.
What takes place during a Divorce or Family Law Mediation?
During a divorce or family law mediation, each person will have a chance to describe his or her view of the case to the mediator and make offers to settle all or part of the dispute. The mediator will discuss these facts and offers with each party in an attempt to facilitate a compromise. All communications with the mediator are confidential. The mediator can only disclose to the judge whether the parties did or did not reach an agreement.
Do I need to be in the same room with my spouse or the other party?
No, you do not have to be in the same room as your spouse or the other party. In a typical mediation setup, you and your attorney will be in one room. Your spouse will be in another room with his or her attorney. Mediators go back and forth between these rooms. They try to settle the case and help the parties reach an agreement.
If agreed upon, everyone can stay in the same room during a divorce or family law mediation. However, if this is not working, the parties can go to separate rooms at any time.
Who talks first in mediation?
Typically, the mediator talks and meets first with the Petitioner (the person who filed their case first). The mediator starts by telling the parties about the grand rules and the mediator’s role in the divorce or family law mediation.
The Petitioner, Petitioner’s attorney, and the mediator will discuss the petitioner’s goals and position and explore possible solutions.
After meeting with the Petitioner, the mediator will start the process with the Respondent and Respondent’s attorney.
How long is a Divorce or Family Law Mediation?
The complexity of the dispute will affect the length of time needed for the mediation. In most cases, you will hear lawyers talk about a half or full day of mediation, or 4 or 8 hours. However, this can vary.
Half day of mediation that starts in the morning typically means from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M., while in the afternoon, it starts at 1:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.
What does it mean to Mediate on Temporary versus Mediating on Final?
In Divorce or Family Law Cases, parties sometimes reach an agreement for a Final Order. They then document this in a Mediated Settlement Agreement. The attorneys convert this into a Final Order for a Judge to sign.
When reaching a final resolution is not yet possible, the parties can agree on a temporary solution to follow while the case is ongoing. When put in writing, we call it a Mediated Settlement Agreement for Temporary Orders. If the parties later agree that this solution works, they can then turn it into a final order. Other times, the parties need to mediate again to try and reach an agreement for final Orders in mediation.
Why should I use Divorce or Family Law Mediation?
Mediation is often successful for divorcing couples or parties involved in a family law dispute in large part because the process allows for a more informal setting. It also encourages input from the divorcing spouses and parties in a family law dispute. Mediation likewise allows for parties to be more creative in forming a solution that will work for their particular situation.
Generally, persons involved in family law litigation can enter into more creative and tailored solutions to the lawsuit’s issues if they do so at mediation. The court can order the parties to mediation.
However, it cannot mandate that the parties reach a compromise. If parties cannot reach a compromise, the litigants must then submit their disagreement to the court and the judge will make a ruling.
How is divorce or family law mediator selected?
The parties and their attorneys can agree on a competent mediator, or have the court choose one for them.
Is Divorce or Family Law Mediation Required?
In many cases the answer is Yes. In Harris and Montgomery County, depending on the court, parties must first attempt to resolve their case through mediation before the court will hear it.
Some Courts require Mediation not only before temporary order hearings but also before the final trial. At The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, our Spring and Houston divorce attorneys offer highly effective representation for clients in divorce mediations.
During the process of any family law proceeding, there is a high likelihood that the court will require the parties to attend mediation. The general purpose of family law mediation is to facilitate an agreement between the parties on disputed issues. There has been an increase in the number of Texas family and divorce courts that mandate parties to attempt to form agreements through mediation prior to going to hearing on temporary orders and/or trial.
Hear is list of some courts that require mediation in Harris and Montgomery County.
If you are considering filing for divorce, or have been served with divorce papers, you will likely need to undergo mediation at some point during the suit. It’s crucial to choose an appropriate mediator, frame the important issues correctly, and negotiate effectively with the opposing party. These are all key skills for the family lawyer handling your case.
For more information about Divorce Mediation in Harris County, Montgomery County, Spring, or Houston, Texas, call (281) 810-9760 today for a free consultation.
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