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Mediation Essentials for Divorce and Child Custody Cases in Texas

Mediation Essentials for Divorce and Child Custody Cases in Texas

The image of divorce from TV and movies is that the husband and wife will inevitably wind up in a courtroom arguing with one another over every last issue of their marriage. Attorneys on TV are nasty to one another and not much better to their clients. Judges are disaffected and end up falling asleep in open court when the subject matter becomes the least bit dry.

Fortunately, this is not the case for most Texas divorces. Parties to the majority of divorces figure out quickly that to resolve their cases sooner rather than later constantly fighting over nonessential items is not advisable.

Allowing the parties to discuss the issues in the hopes of arriving at a settlement is by far the most desirable way to go about divorcing your spouse. The Houston divorce attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC encourage their clients to attend mediation both at the beginning and end of their cases to avoid courtroom appearances.

The Basics of Mediation

Mediation is a confidential process, which means the District Clerk’s office does not make the results public. In this process, the parties engage a third party who serves as a neutral intermediary, helping them resolve any outstanding issues in their divorce case. I often compare a mediator to a ping pong ball with clients.

The parties use the mediator to shuttle back and forth between them, refining potential agreements and generally avoiding litigation if possible. The mediator achieves this by helping both sides understand the strengths and weaknesses of their cases before they actually appear before a judge.

Who Can Act as a Mediator?

Mediators in family law cases are often (not surprisingly) practicing family law attorneys. If a judge orders the parties to mediate the case, he or she will likely name an attorney whom they have a high degree of trust in to mediate the case.

Theoretically, anyone can mediate a family law case but typically it will be an attorney with experience in mediation. This is because there are many issues in a divorce or child custody case that need to be dealt with in certain ways that are best handled by a professional.

What Is Covered in Mediation?

Mediation Essentials for Divorce and Child Custody Cases in Texas

In mediation, we will discuss all subjects that a final decree of divorce covers, such as the division of the marital estate, child custody, and support. Based on my personal experience, I have noticed that direct negotiations between parties or through their attorneys often easily become sidetracked.

The mediator will make known to both parties that they will keep any communication confidential if one party asks to not repeat it to the other side. If the parties agree on any subject mediator the mediator will create a document called a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA).

We will use the MSA as a blueprint to draft an Order for a Judge’s signature and approval. At this stage, it’s important to mention two items. Firstly, a mediator, being an independent party, can offer general advice but cannot advise either party on specific issues.

Secondly, no one can call the mediator to testify in front of the judge about any issues not settled at mediation. In other words, you can’t ask the mediator to recall a disputed issue and then request their testimony to help a judge better understand that particular issue.

Attitude Is Everything When It Comes to Mediation

If I had a nickel for every time a client told me that their spouse was the most stubborn person on the planet and that mediation had no shot at working I could buy you lunch.

Amid a contentious and difficult process like a divorce or a custody case, it’s understandable that people would not feel overly optimistic about resolving disputes without involving a judge. The very act of going through a court case indicates that simple negotiations have failed, necessitating an alternative means to resolve the dispute.

However, if I received a nickel for every person who claimed their case would never settle but eventually did, I could afford to buy you another lunch. As parties delve deeper into a case, they often become more inclined to save time, money, and effort by collaborating with the opposing party to settle their case.

Having an experienced family law mediator and an attorney on your side to help you keep the right perspective during mediation is incredibly important.

Careful Consideration Should Be Given When Deciding Which Attorney to Hire

Mediation Essentials for Divorce and Child Custody Cases in Texas

To avoid the possibility of a prolonged, expensive and tedious family law case it is worthwhile to figure out what goals you want to accomplish and to hire an attorney that you believe can best help you reach those goals.

When it comes to a family law attorney in southeast Texas who knows the courts, and more importantly, knows how to avoid them, the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC is at the top of the list. Our lawyers practice from Chambers to Waller and all points in between. To learn more about our office and how we can assist you and your family please contact us today and schedule a free of charge consultation with one of our Houston divorce lawyers.

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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, and surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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