If you are going through a Texas divorce, you very likely will go to mediation. Mediation is a process whereby you and your soon-to-be ex come together with your respective attorneys to hammer out the details of your divorce under the guidance of a neutral third party – a mediator who is trained in both the law and negotiation. Mediation’s ultimate goal is for you and your spouse to come to an agreement that serves both of you (albeit with significant compromises usually included). Mediation can be an extremely powerful tool, but it is also a complicated process; if you are facing a divorce, you need an experienced Houston divorce attorney
The Mediation Process
Mediation provides you with an opportunity to process through the important details of your divorce in a more relaxed environment than that of the court, but mediation is nevertheless a serious process in which emotions are bound to run high. If your mediation is successful, you and your divorcing spouse will walk away with the details of your divorce determined in the form of a signed mediation settlement agreement.
It’s especially important to go into mediation with a clear understanding of your divorce priorities. If you and your spouse have no divorce-related sticking points, you won’t need mediation, but most divorcing couples have sticking points that involve the division of marital property and/or child custody arrangements. Prior to mediation, your experienced Houston divorce attorney will carefully go over the details of your divorce with you and will help you prioritize your goals so that when you do go to mediation, you’ll be better prepared to move forward.
Mediation Is a Compromise
When it comes to mediation, it’s important to have realistic expectations. You are not likely to come out of mediation feeling on top of the world. During the process, you are probably going to give up some ground that you’d rather not give up, but your attorney will help you stay focused on the larger picture and on protecting your future within the compromises you are making. Mediation is all about compromise, which, of course, means that both parties are required to have a give-and-take attitude. In mediation, both you and your spouse will likely have to make concessions that are somewhat painful. The outcome, however, should help protect your rights overall.
The Mediation Process
The mediation process typically involves you, your divorcing spouse, and your respective divorce attorneys meeting with a mediator either at his or her office or in a predetermined mediation space. You and your spouse will likely begin in different rooms, and the mediator will go back and forth between you. Typically, the mediator will begin with the petitioner, the person who originally filed for divorce. Through this process of speaking with both of you individually, your mediator will become familiar with your case and will help both of you find ways to compromise. Often, mediators are able to help divorcing couples explore options that they may not have even considered. The best approach to mediation is to go in with an open mind and a keen interest in moving your divorce forward with purpose. While you are unlikely to walk away with everything you ever wanted, you should walk away with a divorce settlement that serves you and your children’s best interests.
Mediation Is Confidential
It is important to keep in mind that anything that occurs during your mediation is confidential. This means that nothing that transpires can later be used in court – if your divorce isn’t settled via mediation. Further, the mediator can’t be called in as a witness in your divorce. Throughout the mediation process, your mediator will take information back and forth between you and your spouse, and you should assume that everything you say will be shared with your spouse. If, however, you have some information that you and your experienced Houston divorce attorney believe is critical to shaping your case and that you, therefore, don’t want to share with your spouse, you can tell your mediator that you don’t want the information disclosed.
Your Mediated Settlement Agreement
If your mediation is successful, you will walk away with a mediated settlement agreement, signed by both of you, that outlines the details of your divorce and that will become binding. It’s especially important to recognize that if you sign a mediated settlement agreement, it will be binding and is not something you will have the opportunity to tweak later. With your agreement, you and your spouse will ask the court to enter a final divorce decree that is based upon your agreement.
Only under very limited circumstances is a divorcing spouse allowed to have a mediated settlement agreement set aside, and these circumstances generally include extremely serious matters like active fraud or the omission of substantial assets during the mediation process. Regret is not reason enough. In other words, you won’t have an opportunity to reconsider once the mediated settlement agreement is signed. Your dedicated Houston divorce attorney will work closely with you throughout the mediation process to help ensure that you can live with the compromises you are committing to and that these compromises help protect your rights.
When Mediation Is Unsuccessful
Sometimes couples aren’t able to find middle ground in mediation, and they move on to court – where the details of their divorce decree will be determined. Divorces that involve high assets or especially complicated or contentious components are more likely to be unsuccessful at mediation. It’s important to understand, however, that the court has wide discretion when it comes to the division of your marital assets and can offer up unexpected results.
Mediation Can Be a Powerful Tool; Consult with an Experienced Houston Family Law Attorney Today
If you are facing a divorce, the dedicated legal team at Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston is here to help. Our knowledgeable divorce lawyers have the experience to help skillfully guide your case through mediation and toward a resolution that works for you. For a free consultation, please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.