The Benefits of Mediating Your Divorce or Custody Case

While mediation is not a formal requirement for divorce or custody cases in the State of Texas, it is an option that can either be ordered by the court on its own or requested by the parties in the case. Mediation can be a helpful tool used for reducing costs in a domestic relations case and for making the process easier for all parties involved.

What Do Mediators Do?

A mediator is a neutral third-party who works with both parties on resolving a legal conflict. Mediators can work with parties to come to agreements on issues involving custody, child support, visitation, division of property, and alimony.

In mediation, the parties meet either together with the mediator or in separate rooms. The mediator goes between the two different parties, negotiating a resolution to the case.

The mediator can help resolve the entire case or smaller portions within the case to narrow down what is focused on at trial.

Benefits of Mediation

Mediation has many benefits so long as both parties are open to compromise and work on a mutually agreed-upon resolution.

One of the main benefits of mediation is the resolution of the conflict can be whatever the parties want it to be. They are the ones who create the agreement. Since they are the ones who know what works best for their specific situation, they are best suited to do just that.

On the other hand, if the parties went forward with a court hearing, it would be the judge, who is a third-party who knows very little about either party but is responsible with putting together an order that both parties have to abide by.

Another benefit to mediation is it is confidential. Settlement negotiations are not admissible in court, so communication can be more open and less restricted than what would be allowed in a hearing.

Lastly, going through mediation, while it is still a stressful process, it much less stressful than a full-blown court hearing. All of these benefits can make the option of mediation a much more appealing one than a trial.

What to Expect at Mediation

Many times, the parties will meet the mediator at his or her office or a mediation center. The parties will start in separate rooms. The mediator will normally start with the petitioner, the party that filed the case.

Before beginning negotiations with either party, the mediator will lay out the ground rules of mediation, what is involved, and what to expect. The mediator will then ask for the parties to each individually give their sides to the case. After speaking with the petitioner, the mediator will go to the other party and do the same thing.

The first time talking with the mediator during this process will be longer since the mediator will want to get a big picture of what all issues are in debate. He or she will then work on finding areas of agreement before narrowing down to the more contested issues.

Many parties will find themselves getting frustrated with the mediator at some point in the process, and this is not always a bad thing. Good mediators will often play the Devil’s Advocate by pushing each party to think about the other side. It does not mean that they have lost their neutral position but rather they see some room for agreement and are trying to get to that point.

Mediators are normally former judges or attorneys and have knowledge about the law and know what to expect if the case were to go to the judge, and the mediator may use this knowledge to help get to an agreement on an issue that will likely not be successful in court.

What Happens if Mediation Is Not Successful?

It is completely possible that mediation is not successful, and there is nothing wrong with that. If mediation is not successful, the parties will likely still go to court where the judge will make a final order in the case.

If the parties are able to narrow down the issues and come to an agreement on at least some of them, this can make the trial process easier. The judge can incorporate any agreement they are able to reach into the final order.

Certain cases are not right for mediation, especially if the parties have a history of domestic violence or if one party is not at all willing to work with the other in coming together for an agreement. Both parties must be willing to compromise for mediation to be remotely successful.

Contact A Custody Lawyer Today

If you have questions about whether mediation is needed in your case, please contact family lawyers at Scott M. Brown and Associates. You can reach us by calling (979) 318-3075 or completing our online form. We have offices in Angleton, Webster/Clear Lake, and Pearland.

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