The Woodlands Mediated Divorce Lawyers
Getting a divorce is almost always stressful, even if it is the best thing for you and your spouse. Having a judge make your family’s decisions for you, or negotiating directly with your spouse, can add to the tension. If this is the case for you, mediated divorce, in which an objective mediator works to reach a settlement between you and your spouse, may be ideal for you.
While mediated divorce involves the assistance and guidance of a certified mediator, you likely still need and/or want a qualified and experienced professional supporting you specifically. Thus, even if you and your spouse choose to pursue a mediated divorce, contact a Woodlands mediated divorce lawyer of the BB Law Group PLLC today by calling (832) 534-2589 to discuss how we can support you throughout this type of divorce.
Mediated Divorce Explained
The mediator is a neutral third party whose job it is to help divorcing couples reach a mutually satisfactory settlement that includes all of the issues in their case. Issues that a mediator can work out with you include child support, custody and visitation, alimony, and property division. A mediator does not act as a judge, arbitrator, or counselor, but assists the spouses in reaching a voluntary agreement. Divorce mediation is much more private than having your dirty laundry aired out in open court.
Professional mediators have offices they work out of, where both spouses and their lawyers make appointments to appear. Mediation sessions can take a short amount of time, or all day. More than one session may even be necessary to work out all of the issues of your divorce, if it is particularly complicated. An experienced divorce attorney can speak up for you during the mediation session, to make sure that your best interests are protected and you reach the most satisfactory agreement.
In cases that involve domestic violence or abuse, the mediator can separate you into different rooms with your lawyers, so that you do not have to come into face-to-face contact with your spouse. Mediators do everything possible to make sure both parties are comfortable and safe, giving you the ability to freely negotiate all of the issues. Some mediators in the area even provide lunch and snacks with the cost of mediation.
Mediation does cost money, which is something that can be negotiated between the two parties. Commonly each party pays the mediator per hour of service.
Understand that the agreement you sign in mediation will likely be signed off by the judge, so you must be prepared to stick to that agreement. Once you sign it, there’s no going back, unless you have a strong reason to file a court petition to modify the agreement.
Why Choose Mediation
Mediation is one of the most frequently used methods of negotiating a property or custody agreement in Texas divorce cases. Most Texas family law court judges will require an attempt at mediation, or strongly recommend it, when it’s anticipated that a hearing in a family law dispute will take three hours or more.
If you have property or child custody issues to work out at all, it is wise to consider mediation to reach an agreement on the issues before you spend the time and money appearing before the judge, only to have to reappear at a later date after mediation. If you’ve successfully reached an agreement through mediation, your attorney can file for an uncontested divorce and present your resolution in court.
Perhaps most importantly, the ability to resolve the issues yourselves to present to court, will most likely prevent the judge from making unsatisfactory decisions about the most critical issues of dissolving your marriage.
Benefits of Mediation
A mediated divorce can come with a variety of benefits, which is why many couples choose this method to ensure the most satisfactory divorce. Some of the potential benefits of mediated divorce include:
- Less risk for violent/contentious negotiations – Addressing sensitive issues can cause emotions to run high. With an abusive or potentially abusive spouse, it is safer to go with your lawyer to a neutral location where a mediator can work as a go-between.
- Higher likelihood that both peoples’ rights will be represented – Family court judges don’t always, in reality, understand the true nature of the dynamics of your relationship. Mediators are more willing to spend the time listening and understanding both sides.
- Objective and fair mediation between spouses – If both parties can come to an agreement with an impartial mediator, then it will be less likely for one spouse to be able to claim that the process was unfair, and cause more problems.
- Sometimes less expensive than a “normal” divorce – Not having to pay fees for subpoenas and court filings will save money if you can negotiate things, rather than having to prove them in court
- Often much quicker than a contested divorce – If you have already agreed to all of the issues that would be addressed in court, then a judge only has to sign off on it, and should only take one hearing.
These and other benefits of mediation have allowed many divorcing couples to finalize their divorces with less frustration, which often, in turn, allows them to more quickly move on with their lives.
Tips for Successful Mediation
Even though mediation may cost less than presenting a case in court for the divorce issues you need settled, it still costs money to hire the mediator, so you want to be prepared as much as possible before you schedule an appointment. You can minimize the amount of time spent there and help the process go more smoothly by following these tips:
- Bring an Attorney – In situations when emotions may be running high, it’s hard to remember what your rights are and the issues that you need to address in mediation. It’s strongly advisable to have a professional divorce attorney to ensure that your rights are represented during the mediation.
- List Your Issues – Prepare on paper the issues that need to be addressed, and what you want to come of them. Being able to explain to the mediator why you want the things that are important to you will help them to present those issues fairly to the other party.
- Compromise – Also know what you will be willing to compromise. Understand ahead of time what is important to the other party, that is less important to you, and be willing to give that up. Use this as leverage to get other issues settled in the way that you want.
- Draw a Line – Also list on paper what you will not compromise on. You can compromise on other things during this mediation to ensure that you are successful in getting the important things.
- Stick to Your Guns – You could get a deal worse than what a judge would grant you, so make sure that you are clear with the mediator, what you won’t settle for. Knowing your rights and having a lawyer stick up for you will help.
A qualified Montgomery and Harris County mediated divorce lawyer can advise you as to what would likely happen in court and what your rights are in a divorce, considering property and children.
To learn more about divorce mediation, or how it may be beneficial in your particular circumstances, contact the mediated divorce attorneys of the BB Law Group PLLC today by calling our offices at (832) 534-2589. We have many years supporting clients just like you through this process and will do our utmost to provide you with the support you deserve.