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Divorce Facts From the Greater Houston, Texas, Area
DIVORCE MEDIATION MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process which allows both of you to maintain control over your own destiny and the terms of your divorce settlement. Both parties and attorneys attend either a four-hour or an eight-hour mediation, depending on the complexity of your case. A settlement is not mandatory. If you do not settle, your case will proceed to trial. Most courts require mediation before trial. Sometimes mediation is also required before a Temporary Orders Hearing. It is important to be aware that less than three percent of all cases proceed to trial – family law cases are even less frequently tried than that figure. This means that the mediation tool is the most powerful tool in a family lawyer’s tool kit. Choose excellence and experience when you choose your counselor!
Is the Mediator a Lawyer?
Although some mediators are social workers, most commonly the mediator is a lawyer who acts as a neutral person to help you settle your case. This is preferred because when you reach an agreement, an attorney must draft the final order based on the mediation agreement. A lawyer who is a mediator will not waste your time by providing agreement terms which are unable to be translated into legally enforceable terms in your final order.
How is the Mediator Chosen?
The mediator is chosen and agreed upon by the attorneys. Every Family Law attorney has a “short list” of competent mediators who specialize in family law with whom we are familiar, whose style we are comfortable with, and who we have found to be effective. We will propose that we use a specific mediator who has experience and success with the particular kinds of issues included in your specific case.
What is the Role of the Mediator?
The role of the mediator is to facilitate an agreement between the parties to prevent the necessity for a trial.
Can What I Say Be Used Against Me Later?
Everything said during mediation is confidential. The mediator cannot be made to testify in court if a settlement is not reached. The mediator will only report one of two things: “settlement”: or “no settlement”.
Further, you and I will advise the mediator what we do or do not want shared with your spouse and your spouse’s attorney! At any time during the mediation, you may ask to speak to your attorney privately!
How Does This Work Exactly?
Procedurally, you and I will remain in one room, while your spouse and his or her attorney stays in a separate room. The mediator travels from room to room conveying each side’s offer and/or counteroffer.
Sometimes, the parties mediate by all being in the same room together. This is common if your mediation is taking place at a county dispute resolution center. However, more frequently, the parties remain separated. Occasionally, a particular mediator may like to start the process off by introducing themselves and explaining how they work to all parties and attorneys at the same time. If so, this is just a brief meeting, after which the parties and attorneys go to their separate mediation rooms.
How to Schedule a Mediation:
- Call 281-550-6650 to receive several possible dates within the time frame needed.
- If the parties have attorneys, the attorneys will check their schedules to confirm a mediation date.
- If the parties who wish to mediate are not represented by attorneys, they should consult with each other to choose the date that is most convenient from the dates provided by our office.
- We will provide an “Agreement to Mediate” to both sides for signature and return to us prior to mediation along with payment in the amount of $250 per party.
- We accept payments in cash, credit card, attorney checks, cashier’s checks, or money orders.
- Each party should forward a copy of its pleadings to our office in advance of the mediation date.
- In addition, each party or attorney may wish to provide a summary of its position, including but not limited to, a synopsis defining the issues in the case.
- If no law suit has yet been filed, this summary is essential.
- Any areas in which an agreement has already been reached should be detailed.
- If the mediation is for a final divorce, each side should present their signed and notarized Inventory describing the values of all of the assets and debts of the estate, along with their proposed property division (your suggested way of who should take what).
- Bring supporting documents, and check to make sure that all assets are evaluated as of the same approximate and current date.
We are available for both half day (4 hours) or full day (8 hours) mediations.
We are dedicated to maximizing the quality of time spent in the mediation process. Providing the information requested above, allows us to come to every mediation already educated and informed about the concerns of the parties.