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Texas Family Law Courts: Mediation and Divorce Essentials

Suppose you're just joining us for our discussion on Texas family law courts. In that case, I recommend going back to yesterday's blog post and reading through some of the basic information we provided to readers regarding Family Law courts in Texas.

That information will reinforce the subject matter that we are discussing today, mediation. This subject is at the core of many family law cases, and the information we will be discussing can go a long way towards helping you feel more confident about taking on a family lawsuit.

Mediation- Who is it for, and how can it help?

In the first part of our series of blogs on Texas family law courts, I mentioned that it is unlikely that your divorce or child custody case will even be heard before a judge because it is probable that your case will settle first. You may be skeptical of this assertion I just made.

You're pretty sure that your spouse or child's other parent is the most hardheaded and stubborn, and mean person on the face of the earth. The chances of your case settling are about the same as a snowball's chance in…well, you know where I'm going with this.

Rest assured, you can do the research and see that the odds are certainly in your favor that your case will settle before a temporary order hearing or trial is even necessary. This is by design. Many family law courts require that you mediate your case before an interim order and most definitely by test.

Family law courts are busy, busy, busy. Go to the docket call any morning in Harris County, and you may find yourself listening to cases being called for upwards of thirty minutes on hectic days. This means that the courts will do whatever they can to assist you in settling your claim, thereby limiting the chances that judge ultimately has to hear.

Mediation Essentials

Mediation is a formal settlement process that is confidential. This means that you, your spouse, and your attorneys tell the mediator is personal unless you want the mediator to make what you said to them known to the other party. You, your attorney, your opposing party, and their attorney will mutually select a third-party mediator in your area, likely a family law attorney, to try and resolve any outstanding issues in your case.

The mediator will make their office available to the parties, and you will be in one room with your attorney while your opposing party will be with their attorney in another office. The mediator will act as a ping pong ball, bouncing back and forth between the rooms to communicate settlement offers and generally attempting to push both sides towards a resolution.

A mediator will help both sides to refine their goals and discuss the likelihood of a particular result occurring in a trial. For instance, if your goal is to get sole custody of your child in the divorce, the mediator will likely sit with you and your attorney and discuss whether or not that is a possibility. If you are hoping for a result that is not likely, a good mediator will make sure you are aware of the remote chance that your goal has of coming to fruition.

This typically helps a party understand that it is not worth pushing forward to trial for an unlikely result. Likewise, suppose you and your opposing party are having difficulty hammering out specifics for possession, visitation, or any other issue related to your child. In that case, the mediator can put on their problem-solving cap and help you all develop a creative solution that works for all parties.

Benefits of mediation versus going to a hearing or trial

Staying out of court to decide the outcome of your case is generally a good way to go about your family law case. For starters, your judge is going to be ill-equipped to come up with a solution that works well for you and your opposing party. Judges are well-meaning, but he or they will have nowhere near the knowledge of your case as you or your opposing party do.

My thoughts on the subject are always that you and your spouse, no matter how angry you are at one another, know more about your lives and that of your children than the judge ever will. What makes you think the judge will be able to come up with better solutions to your problems than you and your spouse?

Of course, a judge could hand down a better outcome for you than what you would have stood to receive in mediation. On the other hand, your spouse could be the one who comes out smelling like roses while you are left upset at the outcome.

The point is we don't know how a judge will rule on a particular subject on a specific day. Your attorney may have a general understanding of how your judge typically rules on an issue, but they certainly don't know beyond the shadow of a doubt. It's that uncertainty that makes mediation much more palatable than going to trial or hearing with a judge.

Finally, the cost of mediation pales compared to going to a hearing or trial. The preparation inherent in a hearing or trial is more than that of going to mediation which means your attorney will be spending more time researching and readying your case.

More time spent working on your case means more time paid billing your case. A hearing at the family law court can also mean that you end up spending an entire day in court. Your attorney will be billing you for the whole of this day, not just the time spent in the hearing itself. For $300 or $400, you can settle your case without paying the emotional or monetary output you would be going to court.

Divorce will be discussed tomorrow in part three of this series on family law courts.

The subject we've all been waiting for divorce- will be discussed in tomorrow's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. If you have questions about divorce, child custody, or another subject in family law, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Our consultations are free of charge, and one of our licensed family law attorneys will be happy to sit with you and answer any questions you may have.

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Other Articles you may be interested in regarding Houston Court Local Rules:

  1. Texas Family Law Courts: Mediation and Divorce Essentials
  2. Texas Family Law Courts: What to Expect
  3. Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 245TH Judicial District Local Rules
  4. Can you negotiate child support during mediation?
  5. Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 308TH Judicial District Local Rules
  6. Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 257TH Judicial District Local Rules
  7. Why is Separate Property Important and How to Keep it Separate in a Texas Divorce?
  8. What Wikipedia Can't Tell you About Texas Divorce and Marital Property Division
  9. Texas Divorce Property Division Enforcement
  10. Separate Property in a Texas Divorce?
  11. Does it Matter Whose Name is on Title or Deed of Property in a Divorce in Texas?
  12. Is Social Security Considered Separate Property in a Texas Divorce
  13. Can grandparents keep child from father?

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