Mediation is a method recommended by many divorce lawyers when it appears that two parties involved in a divorce could work out their important agreements without a judge having to make important choices for them.
It is a widely used divorce court alternative that can be very successful, at least as long as those participating in mediation understand what it is and how to approach the mediation process.
Here is a YouTube from Board-Certified Family Law Attorney Greg Housewirth and qualified family law mediator describing the process of mediation for divorce cases.
Understand That Mediation Is Final!
Mediation is a means of making decisions and reaching agreements about a divorce outside of the court and it is binding - it is the real thing that cannot be changed once the agreement has been signed.
Considering this, it is very important to understand how mediation works and what will be determined in advance of divorce finalization.
Talk About Mediation Ahead of Time
To fully prepare for successful mediation, it is critical to talk with your lawyer about the mediation process ahead of time and understand the decisions that will be made through this divorce alternative process.
Discuss things like:
- Marital assets and debts.
- Current account values.
- Child custody.
- Other factors in the marriage.
Consider how these issues will come up during mediation and how to respond to them.
Be sure to understand all the important terms and definitions that will be used during mediation as they apply to child custody, property division, and more in order to make informed decisions.
The better informed and prepared you are for mediation and the discussions that will happen, the better equipped you will be to favorably negotiate an agreement.
Know What To Expect Going To Mediation
Mediation can take the place of going to court if agreements are made; however, it is very different from going to court.
- Mediation can take anywhere from a few hours to a day or more.
- Only you and your divorce lawyer will meet with the mediator.
- The ex-spouse and his or her lawyer will not be present.
The mediator will act as an intermediary and assist communication throughout the negotiating process, but that is all he or she will do.
Mediators do not provide any kind of guidance or recommendations where decisions are concerned as this will be worked out through back-and-forth negotiations with your ex-spouse and his or her attorney.
Mediation Does Not Always Work Out
A mediator cannot compel either spouse to do something he or she does not want to do; however, remember that once the agreement is signed, the settlement agreements are final.
If mediation is not going to work for you, the divorce can proceed on to family court and a judge for finalization.
Mediation Preparation Brings Best Results
- Discuss the process with your divorce lawyer to include questions likely to be asked, decisions that need to be made, and where you stand regarding marital assets, marital debt, child custody, retirement accounts, and more.
- Plan for mediation day by getting a good night’s sleep, eating something beforehand, and making childcare and/or work absence arrangements for as few or many hours as it could take.
Without having to worry about all of the above, go into mediation with your lawyer and make the right decisions that can lead to a successful mediation agreement!
Schreier & Housewirth Family Law
1800 West Bowie Street, Suite 200-E
Fort Worth TX 76110
Gregory L. Housewirth is a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist practicing in Fort Worth Texas. With 30 years of family law experience, Mr. Housewirth has represented hundreds of clients in divorce, custody, CPS, modification, and grandparent cases. In addition, Mr. Housewirth is a qualified family law mediator and a member of Collaborative Law Texas, a practice group dedicated to promoting collaborative divorce in Texas.