If you are reading this blog post it is likely that you are either contemplating a divorce or one is already in the works. It is normal to feel nervous, apprehensive and stressed out about the challenges that you and your family are facing.
From everything you’ve heard about divorce it isn’t a fun process and is one that can get expensive quickly. Maybe you’ve hired a lawyer already or maybe you’re just poking around to see what your options are.
Out of all of the divorce consultations I have done as an attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the most widely held belief in regard to divorces that people seem to hold is that divorce always ends up in court with a judge deciding the outcome of your case. While this is certainly a possibility it is not the normal conclusion to a divorce.
The majority of divorces conclude with the parties to a divorce attending something called mediation to negotiate and settle their case on all subjects rather than heading downtown to talk to the judge.
Many people are unfamiliar with what mediation is and you may be no different. With that said, let’s discuss mediation and how it can help you and your spouse avoid the sort of divorce that keeps you awake at night.
What is the role of mediation in the context of a Texas Divorce case?
A mediator is an independent party (typically a practicing family lawattorney) whom the parties to a divorce mutually select to intervene and assist in working out a settlement on any disputed issue in their case. This means that child custody, conservatorship, property, etc. are all fair game to be discussed and mediated.
Think of any issue that you believe a judge would have to decide in your divorce. A mediator can step in and work as a go-between for you and your spouse so that the judge does not have to be involved.
In most scenarios you and your attorney, your wife and their attorney and the mediator would select a day to attend mediation at the mediator’s office. You would be in one room at the mediator’s office and your spouse would be in another, each with your respective attorneys.
The mediator acts as a “ping pong ball” of sorts going back and forth between the rooms to help you all negotiate any issues that need resolving.
If you all are having trouble agreeing to a visitation schedule for the children then the mediator can help both sides brain storm and come together for a solution. Or if you and your spouse cannot agree on how to divide up your marital estate then the mediator can likewise assist in this area.
Is mediation required before going to court?
Some former clients have held the opinion that their spouse is the most stubborn, rotten and hard to deal with individual in the history of the planet and there was no way that a settlement could be reached in mediation. You may have read that prior sentence and thought that it could have just as easily described your own spouse.
Most courts in southeast Texas counties do require mediation both before temporary orders hearings and trials. The reason for this is that the success rate for cases settling in mediation is so high, and courts are so overburdened with litigants that it is a no brainer to require mediation prior to actually taking your case to a judge.
So even if you think your spouse will never work with you in mediation, most courts require it anyways. Even so, I would say most people would believe their spouse to be unyielding and difficult to deal with if they are going through a divorce. The rate of success at mediation is contrary to this idea though.
Advantages to mediation over going to court
There are two main advantages in my opinion to working out a resolution in mediation as opposed to going before a judge:
Mediation with a private mediator in Harris County will typically cost somewhere between $300 and $500 for a half day session. Costs can vary from mediator to mediator, however, based on the skill and experience of the mediator. With that said a few hundred dollars pales in comparison to the investment you would be making in taking your case to a temporary orders hearing or trial to resolve any outstanding issues.
The time spent at the courthouse and preparing for a hearing are hours that you will be paying your attorney. It is not unreasonable to think that all in all a contested hearing or trial could cost you five to ten times as much as your mediation session in terms of attorney’s fees.
A resolution tailor made for your family
Nobody knows your family as well as you and your spouse do. Nobody is saying that once you walk into the mediator’s office that your past will be forgotten and you and your spouse are going to hammer out an agreement in five minutes. What I am saying is that despite the difficult circumstances you are going through resolving the issues together is a better alternative than going to see a judge.
A judge is bound by the Texas Family Code and its laws on dividing up property as well as dividing time, resources, rights and duties for your children. A judge is not able in most cases to get creative with solutions to any of these issues. He or she will listen to testimony and then make a decision that probably will not suit either party all that well.
The reason being is that judges, absent overwhelming evidence in favor of you or your spouse, will probably go right down the middle and award property evenly and stick closely to a Standard Possession order for your children. If you and your spouse want to carve out a more flexible agreement that takes your individual circumstances and desires into consideration then you would be best served to work hard at mediation to make that goal a reality.
Additional questions on divorce mediation? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
If you have any other questions on divorce, mediation or any subject having to do with family law in Texas please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC today. One of our licensed family law attorneys is available to meet with you six days a week to answer questions and to discuss our firm and the services we provide to our clients.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
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- 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
- I Want a Texas Divorce but My Husband Doesn't: What can I do?
- Can I sue my spouse's mistress in Texas?
- 6 Tips - On How to prepare for a Texas Divorce
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas 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 Houston, TX Child 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 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 Houston, 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.