Mediations help form a mutually beneficial resolution to settle a case. In mediation, both parties meet with a neutral third party known as the mediator. The mediator facilitates a voluntary resolution, thereby avoiding the need to go to Court. Our family attorney Austin can help negotiate in mediation for your ideal resolution.
Benefits of Mediation
Unlike other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), mediation itself is not binding. The goal of mediation is to help both parties reach their own settlement. The mediator will not decide for you as a Court would. Mediation is a way to save time and expense on further litigation by settling, say a divorce petition, outside of Court. However, mediation doesn’t always lead to a settlement. Often mediation is a waste of time, leaving both parties no closer to settling.
Why then do parties agree to mediation? Simple. When mediations succeed, they save both parties large sums of money. Litigation is expensive. Parties can end up spending thousands of dollars on litigation versus a couple of hundred dollars an hour on mediation with a real chance of resolution.
Additionally, mediation is advantageous because:
- You are integral in the decision process. Both parties are directly involved in determining what is best for their family. Rather than a stranger in a courtroom ordering the structure of the decree or order, you help build it.
- Mediation is far less stressful than fighting it out in Court. Court inherently brings the risk of you losing outright, mediation purposes compromises.
- Mediation is significantly quicker than navigating the complex process of litigation. Therefore, not only are you an architect in your resolution, the resolution becomes concrete more swiftly.
Family Law Mediation
When preparing for mediation, remember it’s purpose: compromise. For a successful mediation, both parties will make some concessions. Mediation cannot be won; instead, a successful mediation leaves both parties a little unsatisfied. Some clients find this hard to accept. Unfortunately, if they demand total victory, mediation will fail, and litigation ensues.
By law, Texas doesn’t require mediation in family law. However, most Judges require it. Nonetheless, if sufficient grounds exist for a party to seek total victory, a Judge will waive their mediation requirement. Conversely, if a party refuses mediation in an attempt to avoid divorce, a motion to compel mediation may be filed by an attorney law Austin.
Generally, Texas family law mediations follow a simple format:
- Parties and their lawyers set up in separate rooms.
- Issues are identified, prioritized, and attended to one at a time.
- The mediator discusses independently with each party, going back and forth until an agreement emerges or the mediator declares an impasse.
- In cases of an agreement, the mediator drafts a mediated settlement agreement (MSA) for both parties to sign.
- An order or decree is formally drafted based on the MSA to be signed by the parties, lawyers, and finally a judge, closing the case.
Separate session mediations are not required. If a mediator believes a joint session might be helpful, they may purpose one after the mediation has begun. However, if both parties do not agree, a separate session continues. Many successful mediations reach a resolution without either party meeting face to face.
Although it may not be obvious, mediation is actually two negotiations at once. Of course, the parties negotiate through the mediator. Remember, the mediator has their own goal as well: an MSA. So, while you are negotiating with your former spouse, you are also negotiating with the mediator about what is possible. The mediator communicates the suggestions, offers, and options with their goal in mind.
Mediation Preparation Tips
Whatever transpires in mediation is entirely confidential. Therefore, if litigation ensues, the parties involved cannot be questioned about the mediation negotiations. By law, a Judge has no entitlement to the specificities of mediation. The Judge only needs to know the agreement terms or if mediation resulted in a stalemate.
Signed MSA’s are irreversible and binding. The MSA is then used as a template to draft the final order or decree. One lawyer drafts the order or decree, and it circulates until all parties agree it accurately reflects the MSA. Therefore, feel free to slow down the negotiations to get all the answers to your questions. Read the MSA carefully, get detailed explanations of terms, and ensure it contains all the agreed terms before signing.
If a party refuses to sign the subsequent decree or order, by law, the Judge must sign it if it complies with the signed MSA.
Overall, mediations deliver resolutions without the stress, cost, and relationship damage of a trial. Our family attorney Austin can represent you in mediation to get you the best outcome possible. Give us a call, we’re here to help.
To find out how we can help you, contact an Family Attorney Austin at 512-400-7070 or send us a message. We will schedule an initial client consultation to review your case details and lay out a game plan for your divorce in Texas. AZ Law Firm will pursue the legal action necessary to secure the fairest possible divorce for you and your loved ones.
- evaluating and explaining to you the pros and cons of your individual case
- discussing with you any available options and our proposed strategies as it relates to your case
- providing guidance and recommendations regarding any proposed settlement offer
- quickly and effectively communicating with you during each step of the process so that you are not left in the dark
- taking your case solely on a contingent fee basis
- and aggressively protecting and defending your rights
We understand times are tough and that there probably hasn’t been a tougher time in your life. Although we could get away with charging exuberant amounts, we prefer not to as we are a law firm by the people, for the people. We do not want you to worry about whether you can afford to hire an attorney to protect and defend your rights. Call us and be surprised at the quality you receive compared to what other law firms will quote you!
Accordingly, the attorneys at AZ Law Firm will always provide you with a free initial consultation. During this initial consultation, one of our Family Attorney Austin will evaluate your case, inform you of any legal options that may be available, and allow you to ask any questions that you may have. AZ Law Firm offers affordable rates for all our clients and will work with you on payment plans. Our firm accepts checks, debit cards, and most major credit cards to cover the costs of your legal representation.