Family Mediation F A Q’s

Family Shadow

DIVORCE MEDIATION

What does the mediator do?
How does the mediation process work?
How do divorce documents get filed with the court?
Will we have to appear in court?
How long does mediation take?
Is mediation really cheaper that hiring a lawyer for my divorce?
Will our agreement be enforceable?
Should I still see a lawyer during mediation?
What if my case is too complicated for mediation?
What if we can’t agree on all issues?
We don’t get along well at all, so how can we possibly mediate?
My spouse is very overpowering, so how can I hope to be successful in mediation?

DIVORCE MEDIATION


What does the mediator do?
A family mediator is a neutral party specially trained to help couples resolve the issues in their divorce. The mediator facilitates the communication between the parties by making sure each party is given uninterrupted time to speak, asking a party to restate or explain a point when necessary, and asking questions to make communication clear. The mediator also provides information about how issues may be viewed by lawyers or judges and what alternatives there are for solving issues. When necessary, the mediator will refer the couple to third party experts for services such as appraisals.

How does the mediation process work?
The mediation can either be voluntary order by the court. The couple and the mediator will meet in a series of mediation sessions (usually 2 – 3 sessions), usually 2 – 3 hours long each, depending on how much there is to divide and if there are children involved. In order to complete your divorce through mediation, it has to be uncontested, meaning both sides are able to agree on divorce arrangements.

1st meeting: The couple and the mediator identify the issues needed to be discussed and the order in which they will be discussed, then decide what information needs to be gathered and shared. Between the first and later sessions the couple gathers all relevant financial data, or if necessary, the opinions of experts such as appraisers or accountants, with this material treated with the same care and concern as would be the case in the adversarial process.

Further Meetings: Discussions revolve around how to compromise on the various issues in order to meet the needs of both parties. The mediator assists by providing information about the court system and common ways divorce issues are resolved.

The Agreement: When an agreement has been reached on all issues, the mediator drafts the agreement for review by each of the parties and their attorneys if any.

How do divorce documents get filed with the court?
The mediator can assist you by providing information on filing all papers with the court, including starting the dissolution of marriage action, preparing and filing the necessary disclosure documents, and preparing the agreement, and final papers to be filed with the court.

Will we have to appear in court?
No court appearances are necessary by either party for the mediation.  To finalize a divorce an appearance in court by at least the petitioning party who filed for divorce will need to be made but both it is a good idea that both parties bet there on their scheduled court date.

How long does mediation take?
The complexity of the issues and ability of the individuals to be flexible as they negotiate a fair agreement determines the length of the mediation. Every case is different, but the average case usually takes at least three to four two-hour mediation sessions, spread out over at least a month or two. More complex cases can take four to six months to complete.

Is mediation really cheaper that hiring a lawyer for my divorce?
Many lawyers charge a retainer fee of between $2,500 and $5,000 for average cases and bill the client for services in addition to the time covered by the retainer. The retainer amount will be substantially more in complex cases, so the cost of mediation from beginning to end can be less than the combined retainer fees would be if the parties hired lawyers to handle the divorce.Typical divorce costs can run two to ten times higher than the mediation cost. Also, keep in mind that “cost” not only means dollars spent but the emotional cost to the parties and their children who go through litigated divorces. This emotional cost is greatly reduced by the mediation process.

Will our agreement be enforceable?
Once an agreement has been signed, that agreement is enforceable, however, usually, a judgment based on the agreement is prepared and filed with the court, and is just as enforceable as any other divorce judgment.

Should I still see a lawyer during mediation?
Mediation is not a substitute for the services of a qualified attorney. Both parties are encouraged to obtain independent legal advice during the mediation process and to have their lawyer review the agreement before it is signed.

What if my case is too complicated for mediation?
No case is too complicated to be settled using mediation. Frequently the parties in mediation consult with outside experts such as accountants, appraisers, financial planners and attorneys during the process.

What if we can’t agree on all issues?
It is fairly rare to agree on all but one or two issues, but even if that is the case mediation is seldom wasted. An agreement can be prepared on all settled issues, and the parties can either litigate the remaining issues or take further time to think about them and come back to mediation.

We don’t get along well at all, so how can we possibly mediate?
Although many mediating couples are amicable and work well in mediation, there are also many couples who are very emotional about the divorce and don’t think they can negotiate face to face. Part of every qualified mediator’s training is in assisting couples who have high emotions but who still would like to work things out peacefully. People do calm down and become effective mediation participants when they see that the process can work without adding to the high emotional and financial cost of divorce.

My spouse is very overpowering, so how can I hope to be successful in mediation?
The mediator will not allow one party to overpower the other in mediation. If one of the parties is unable to be effective during this process, the mediator will stop the mediation. However, many persons who considered themselves to be the “weaker” of the two spouses have been quite effective in mediation. As an unsophisticated spouse of a very powerful business executive once said, “I have the power to say no, and my spouse better listen or we’ll wind up in court.”

 

CHILD CUSTODY MEDIATION

Why should I try child custody mediation as opposed to just going to court?
My relationship with my ex is so bad, I can’t see child custody mediation working; what does child custody mediation offer that could make things work?

CHILD CUSTODY MEDIATION


Why should I try child custody mediation as opposed to just going to court?

There are several very good reasons you may want to attempt to mediate child custody, visitation, and support issues before taking them to court. In general, a mediator cannot impose a solution, so speaking with a mediator will not necessarily impact the final decision of a court if the mediation doesn’t work out.

Some of the many advantages of mediation include:

    • Mediation is a non-adversarial approach to problem-solving, unlike a court, which means that the process is less threatening and parties are typically willing to make more concessions because it is not generally binding. Also, typically nothing you do or say in mediation will be used as evidence in a potential trial, so parties are allowed to speak more freely than in court.
    • The mediator is a professional, neutral party, who is not invested on either side.
    • Mediation can offer a solution more quickly than any trial can. Mediation can be conducted in a week or two, whereas the entire trial process could take months or years.
    • Mediation can set the tone for your relationships going forward. Although you and your ex have parted ways, you still need to be able to communicate in some fashion. Numerous studies have shown that children do much better if their divorced parents can cooperate and communicate. Remember, you’re setting an example for your child.
  • Mediation can be significantly less expensive than working through the courts. Rather than having each spouse pay for an attorney to work on their behalf in court, the parents can hire one mediator to help the parents come to an agreement, which the parents can then submit for a court’s approval.

My relationship with my ex is so bad, I can’t see child custody mediation working; what does child custody mediation offer that could make things work?

Mediation can be done separately, so if you and your ex cannot be in the same room together, mediation can accommodate this. The mediator will go back and forth between the parties and work on an agreement until it gets done. Also keep in mind that mediators do this for a living, and are skilled at dealing with couples that fight. Mediators will stress the importance of putting aside personal issues for the sake of the child and are very good at redirecting a parent’s focus back to the issue that really matters — the child.


PRECISION MEDIATION & CIVIL SERVICES SPECIALISTS ARE NOT ATTORNEYS LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN TEXAS AND MAY NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE OR ACCEPT FEES FOR LEGAL ADVICE.