This article addresses Divorce Mediation in Texas and when it is required and how it can be helpful.
What is Divorce and Family Law Mediation?
Divorce and Family Law Mediation is one form of Alternative Dispute Resolution and is used in many family law cases in Texas. Mediation is a process where the parties to a divorce or family law dispute meet with a neutral trained person called a “mediator”, who helps to parties try and resolve areas of conflict.
What is a Divorce and Family Law Mediator?
Divorce and Family law mediators usually have extensive experience as practicing divorce and family law as lawyer and many times 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 of the communications with the mediator are confidential, and the mediator can only disclose to the judge whether the parties did or did not reach an agreement.
Will I have to be in the same room with my spouse or the other party?
No you will not have to be in the same room as your spouse or the other party. In most cases the typical set up for a mediation is that you and your attorney will be in one room and your spouse or the other party will be in another room with their attorney. The mediator then goes back and forth between the rooms try and settle the case and help the parties reach an agreement.
Sometimes everyone is in the same room during a divorce or family law mediation if it is agreed upon. However, at any time if this not working then the parties separate to different rooms.
Who talks first in Mediation?
Typically, the Mediator talks and meets first with the Petitioner (the person who filed their case first) first?The Mediator start things off by telling the parties about the grand rules for mediation and the mediators role in the divorce or family law mediation.
Then Petitioner and Petitioner’s attorney and the mediator will discuss the goals of the petitioner, the reality of petitioner’s position and explore possible solutions.
After meeting with the Petitioner the mediator will then go meet with and 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. The translation for this is wither 4 hours or 8 hours of mediation. However, this can very on what is needed.
If it is half day of mediation and starts in the morning this typically means from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.. If its starts in the afternoon this typically means it starts at 1:00 P.M. and goes to 5:00 P.M.
What does it mean to Mediate on Temporary versus Mediating on Final?
In Divorce or Family Law Cases sometimes parties or able to reach an agreement that they are happy with and can agree this agreement will work for a Final Order that agreement is then reduced to a writing called a Mediated Settlement Agreement that the attorneys will turn into a Final Order that a Judge will sign.
Sometimes though it is not possible to reach a final resolution of the case. However, the parties are sometimes able to agree on a temporary solution for the situation that they can agree to follow while the case is ongoing.
This agreement can then be reduced to writing called a Mediated Settlement Agreement for Temporary Orders.
If the parties later agree that this solution works it can then can then be turned 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 frequently successful for divorcing couples or parties involved in a family law dispute in large part because the mediation process allows for a more informal setting and encourages input from the divorcing spouses and parties in a family law dispute. Mediation also 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 have much more flexibility to enter into creative and tailored solutions to the issues involved in the lawsuit 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 a compromise cannot be reached, 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 it is required that the parties first try and resolve their case in a mediation before the Court will hear the case?
Some Courts require Mediation not only prior to a hearing for temporary Orders but also prior to final trial. At The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, our Spring and Houston divorce attorneys provide highly effective representation for clients participating in divorce meditations.
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 contemplating filing for divorce, or have you been served with divorce papers, mediation will probably be required at some time during the suit. Choosing an appropriate mediator, properly framing the important issues, and negotiating with the opposing party are all important skills for the family lawyer you choose to handle your case.
For more information about Divorce Mediation in Harris County, Montgomery County, in Spring or Houston Texas Call (281) 810-9760 today for your free consultation.
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