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Mediation (Stages of Divorce Series, Part 4/5)

 

Episode 16 - Mediation (Stages of Divorce Series, Part 4/5)

Welcome to the top Texas Lawyers podcast. This podcast is brought to you by the law firm Abercrombie and Sanchez PLLC.

Your hosts are Bryan Abercrombie and Samuel Sanchez. Bryan has been practicing law for 18 years and his board certified that sort of legal specialization in the area of family law. Sam has been practicing for 13 years, is licensed in both Texas and Florida, and is a certified mediator. This podcast is for informational purposes only and all views are the opinion of the hosts. It's not designed to provide legal advice for your particular legal matter, and it should not replace the advice of competent counsel. Welcome. And we hope you enjoy the top Texas Lawyers podcast..

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to top Texas lawyer. I guess this is Samuel Sanchez, I'm your host today, my co-host and partner in crime, Bryan Abercrombie is on the horn as well. Hello.

Yes, you are the the cream to my Oreo cookie there. Bryan, I'm glad to have you. You make everything taste better.

So, yes, at least as long as you say I'm not the double stuffed.

Now, you're the brilliant side of that equation. We're back today to talk about the part four of our five part series on divorce. And this is really going to be mediation and potential informal settlement options that may exist as we encounter the divorce process. But before we get to that, quick shout to what's in the news, Bryan, you know, news quoting anything.

Well, I know that the Jay Cutler and Kristen Cavallari divorce is running hot and heavy right now. I know that's been dominating the news cycle.

It's a it's kind of unfortunate, I guess, when people get divorced, whenever there's very little in the news cycle other than, you know, quarantine mania that we've got going on right now. It just makes the pop culture gossip just that much more, huh?

Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, obviously, this divorce is going to be played out on the press quite a bit. But the interesting part, and I think this is something to kind of make note of is last report I saw they actually reached an agreement as to the children issues. So they've settled those portions of their divorce. So it remains an issue right now is the property division. And a lot of people don't realize that you can actually do that in in divorce so that you can actually narrow the field or the scope of what is at issue by doing something like that reaching agreement either on the property issue where the children issue for both of them going on before you even get to the end of the divorce.

Oh, definitely. Definitely. And you also seeing some of the kind of the salacious stuff playing out in the media that, you know, Jay wasn't supportive of us off camera on the TV show or that he was, you know, difficult to deal with on the TV show and mean to her.

And, you know, you just see all the tabloid stuff coming out. You know, whether that's true or not, I don't know. But, you know, I think that's probably going to have an impact in the, you know, the property division, because obviously that television show is going to be probably a, you know, for whatever it is, it's it's at least some portion of lucrative marital property.

You know, it it's a it's definitely, you know, entertainment, obviously, but it's also, you know, a lucrative really business venture firm for both of them, really. So I know that's going to be played out.

Oh, for sure. You're absolutely correct. And I mean, I know one of the things they really kind of focused in on and, you know, obviously come up in a divorce when you have high wealth assets or individuals.

You know, Kristen's camp is out there, you know, using the press, saying, well, he was unsupportive, he was lazy, he was unmotivated, he didn't, you know, contribute, and maybe he even acted detrimentally. Remember when he came out of retirement? We'll play for the dolphins. Now they're asserting that, well, he cost us a bunch of money because he dropped out of the show. And so, you know what that is for those who are kind of seeing this as a spectacle from the legal field. That's our position. That's all jockeying. That's all smart lawyering, understanding that, you know, you're really trying to put people in a position to kind of take sides. And the more you kind of put out your version, your spin on information, and this happens in and out of the courtroom, the more likely it is that, you know, sometimes you're going to have people sway or come to the middle, which is what we're going to talk about today.

I mean, you also have you know, and to an extent, you know, I'm not saying they don't work hard or anything like that. But to an extent, you have celebrity folks who don't necessarily live in the real world where where we all live. And, you know, so you've got, you know, the potential things coming out of this. If you can spin up a story of heartbreak and, you know, recovery and different things like that. I mean, this can lead to lucrative book deals that can lead to, you know, the financial implications.

You know, specifically on the part of Kristen Cavallari, because I think she's she's a very likable, you know, TV personality. You know, I think her camp, you know, like you said, is the kind of strategizing and kind of putting her in the best position to be successful, which they should be doing.

Jay's camp is is kind of doing the same thing when they say that he you know, hell, he was the primary dad and he was doing the majority of the stuff and this and that. So, you know, I don't know that Jay Jay cares as much about, you know, what's said in Hollywood gossip circles is as maybe Kristen does. But, you know, they're kind of posturing themselves for life after the divorce and and where they're going to take their their careers after this.

Oh, yeah, you're absolutely right, Brandon. And that, too. You know, let's just talk about this process, because it really ties in perfectly with our subject today. So you're in a divorce and maybe you're not a superstar, but you've got, you know, everything you've worked for in your life that's at stake, including your children, your family, and how that looks like going forward. You've participated in the discovery process, right. Which we talked about in our last podcast about getting information and gathering kind of the bricks to be able to be able to build the new house. And now you're trying to figure out where do we go from here. So at this point, Bryan, like, how do you kind of give clients insight about where do we go next?

Well, you know that at least in my county and the county is where I primarily operate. And I think in the majority of the counties that you operate in, the court is going to require you to go to what's called a mediation before you have a final, knockdown, drag out World War three kind of thing at the courthouse. So a mediation is quite simply, it's an opportunity. It's informal. You usually go to a mediators office. A mediator is basically a neutral third party that will go between the two of you. You'll be in one room with your lawyer and your your your spouse will be in the other room with their lawyer and the mediator will go back and forth and try to kind of broker a settlement and try to work both parties into, you know, areas where they can settle now where the settlement looks like you can you can you can go a couple of different ways or a number of different ways. Rather, a settlement can be full. You settle every issue, whether it be child property, whatever else is on the table, you can settle everything. You could settle nothing. And everybody just walks away and you're free to go to court and they or you can settle some things like a partial settlement. Maybe it's like, Jane, Jane, Kristen, maybe you settle all the kids stuff, but you still have the property stuff on the table, you know, where you settle the property stuff and you still got the kids stuff on the table.

There's there's partial settlements that happen all the time. And at the very least, it gives you some insight as to what the other party is going to try to argue or what they're going to try to go for at trial. Now, the bulk of the time in mediation is very successful and you don't end up in a knockdown drag out at the courthouse, but sometimes you do. So you've got to be ready for both.

The good thing about mediation is it's a completely confidential process. So nothing that said at the mediation can be brought up in court and nothing that the court can't ever know how close you are to settling or how close you're not to suddenly or how reasonable or unreasonable you're willing to be. So the good thing about mediation is a completely confidential process, and it's non-binding unless and until you sign your name on that dotted line.

So that's a great point that you raise their hand because so, you know, obviously clients a lot of times will come in and say we're going to try to settle it. I don't know if you have this. I always tell people every if I had a quarter for every time I heard this statement, I could have retired a long time ago. It's that. Don't worry. We're going to reach an agreement. Well, this is really what we're talking about. You know, do a lot of people reach an agreement? They do. Do you have to go to formal mediation to have that done? No. There's an informal process that you could use as well. But the chief advantage, in my opinion, at least mediation, is that if you reach an agreement, it is binding and irrevocable. Right. So there's no crawfishing on the deal. You can't wake up the next day and say, by God, I can't believe I agree to that. I want out of no buyer's remorse. No. And what people need to understand, at least in Texas law, is a little different. But I will tell you in Texas is that it is an extremely powerful process. What I mean by that is once you reach an agreement, setting mediated settlement agreements aside is very complicated. Has that been your experience?

I've been practicing for almost 20 years and I've never gotten one set aside.

So, yeah, I mean, it's very, very narrow types of fact issues that were present themselves to afford you the opportunity to do that. Whereas in an informal settlement agreement, because clients asked this all the time, well, you know, maybe I don't want to pay the expense potentially of having to go to a mediators office. And can't we do this informally? You can't. There's what's called a rule Lhevinne agreement.

It's basically a simple rule that affords parties the opportunity to settle issues. And it's like contract law right at the heart of family life, contract law. And when we're dealing about property, even though we're talking about kids, I would tell you kids in Texas are considered chattel. Right? Some form of property. We have an ownership interest in them. And so when you reach a binding agreement outside of court, it's still an agreement, but it's contract law. And when you talk about contract law, the only remedy typically for breach of contract is what, Bryan?

That would be an enforcement suit.

Right. And that is only going to typically get you money damages. Right. So if you look at it and you say, well, what I really wanted that piece of art, you know, most of the time in that type of an agreement, you're not going to get specific performance. You might get attorney's fees. But in a mediated settlement agreement, it's much more powerful in the effect of what that binding agreement is. Does it keep both parties to those specific terms? It absolutely does. So when you're talking to your attorney and you're kind of formulating a plan about how the case is going to go, I always tell clients this is a great opportunity and it's probably going to be the only opportunity that a client will have to be the captain of the ship. The rest of the time. They're the first mate. They take a lot of orders and they do a lot of work. Their attorney is the gap. But at mediation, they get to be the captain. And what I find so powerful and unique about mediation is the creativity that you can employ at that. That's in those me.

Yes. And I would also tell you that a rule is never an agreement.

You know, they sound good or a cocktail napkin agreement or something you throw up at the kitchen table. That sounds good and everything like that. And sometimes it does work.

But the big difference between the two of them is, I think, peace of mind. So what I mean by that is a mediator settlement agreement is irrevocable. You cannot back out real love loving agreement, a kitchen table agreement, a cocktail napkin agreement, whatever, you know, whatever you want to call it. You can walk away from that at any time. You can file a revocation of a Rule 11 agreement and you're out of the deal. So, you know, immediate a settlement agreement gives you the peace of mind that it is done. These things are done. They're done forever. You know, kids not completely done forever.

But, I mean, it's it's harder to. It's harder to overturn it. But property stuff, once you sign that mediated settlement agreement, it is done for all time.

Yeah, that's a tremendous, tremendous advantage, especially if you're wanting to make sure things are complete. Right. There's you're gonna be able to move back because let's say you are able to reach an agreement. Let's just talk about it informally. Can it be changed from an informal agreement into a final decree of divorce? Absolutely. Once it's a decree of divorce, is it irrevocable and binding? Absolutely. But we're talking about the window in between where there is risk in a mediated settlement agreement. What about that, Bryan? You have a mediated settlement agreement, which you don't have an order. Somebody wants to crawfish or doesn't want to do it. What are your avenues then?

Well, what you can do is you can prepare a court order that looks like mediated settlement agreement, that contains the terms and conditions of that mediated settlement agreement. And you can submit that to the judge along with the motion and ask the judge to sign off on that because you have a binding agreement. And based on the Supreme Court case that came came down a number of years ago. That judge has to sign that decree if that decree can. Forms to the media. The settlement agreement. And they're identical. Then they fight. It follows the right form. The judge has no alternative but to sign that decree. And that's the end of the case.

So you're the other side. Maybe crawfish in on the deal, but, you know, that's it.

Yeah, I used to have a contract professor who is really famous, you know, jurist in Texas, Dr. Spurlock. And I know you know him. And we used to have this whole little catchphrase about, boom, you got a contract. And so, you know, this is like immediate someone who is that big boom. It's like, boom, the door is closed and all that's left is really the ancillary detail. There's no going back and renegotiating that. It's done.

And so that's a tremendous event, a very, very good lawyers, you know, go in and try to get these things set aside all the time on behalf of clients. But I've got to tell you that it's very, very difficult. You have to have, you know, essentially fraud on the part of the mediator. I mean, there's there's some really, really outlandish kind of way out of the box things that have to happen if you're going to get one of those things set aside.

Yeah. And so, like, when you talk to clients right now, I'll tell you kind of from my perspective, I always tell clients, you know, not only do you get to be a captain. So that means you can be creative. We can do things that normally don't happen in the courtroom, in mediation. Right. What I mean by that is that when I say creativity, we could you know, the courts are bound by precedent and law. But in mediation, we can do things that maybe aren't don't have a basis in law. But as long as they don't violate the law, then you can do it. I'll give you a clean example. You know, in Texas, we have what's called a standard possession schedule. Right? This is for custody purposes. We've talked about it before in previous podcast where one parent is going to get the majority of time compared to the other parent. But let's say you're in mediation and you say, well, we don't want to do that. Will really want to do is we want a custom possession schedule that goes to two, five, six, three, two, one, eight. That's most people. That sounds ridiculous. But for these two individuals, it works. It works for their life based on their schedules. Can you do something like that in mediation or you are bound to the statute that requires this first, third and fifth possession schedule that's tied to the standard position statement?

No, that's an excellent point. I mean, you can you can do whatever you want, whatever. Two people can agree to a mediation you guys can do within the realms of, you know, within the realms of, you know, it being legal, which is a good kind of Segway to the next part of this thing, which is how to prepare for mediation, because mediation, you know, the judge never is never going to know you and the judge is never going to tuck your kids in at night. The judge is never going to know your kids. Yet you're asking these people who are human beings to make decisions on your life with a very, very limited amount of information on your life.

I mean, the best thing about mediation is that the two people that have the most to win or lose in the process are the ones making the decision. So it allows you the opportunity that, hey, maybe I'm a firefighter and my wife's a nurse or my wife's a flight attendant or something like that. And we don't have a traditional nine to five type of schedule, so we need to do something different. So that's standard possession schedule is not going to work for us.

You know, so it gives you the affords you the opportunity to be very creative, especially when it comes to kids stuff. And I've I've done I've done 500 mediations. I've maybe 10, 500 different types of agreements. They're not all. You don't have to be cookie cutter. That's the good thing. That's why you want to go into this thing prepared.

Oh, without question. But I think the most important piece and I think a lot of, you know, lawyers who participate in this process sometimes overlook this with their clients, because if you're going to prepare for trial, I promise you, every lawyer in the room gets ramped up for trial. And if they don't, you might want to consider who you chose as your lawyer. But most lawyers invest a tremendous amount of time and energy getting prepared for trial. However, not every lawyer, but a good lawyer will always spend a, you know, a substantial amount of time and energy preparing for mediation because what we just talked about. So for you to be creative. What I always tell clients, in order for us to be creative on the day of mediation, you have to think of it almost like a chess game because you are playing chess with somebody who is in another room. You don't get to see their body expressions. You don't get to see if they get mad or they are happy, you know, based on an offer that's made or, you know, terms that you're proposing. You're using the mediator as a go between and that mediator. The power that the mediator brings to the table in that situation is that they get to know everybody's dark, dark secrets. Right. They get to know everybody strategy and plans and what they're willing to give and what they're not because they can't tell that in the other room unless that party authorizes them to do that. But in order to properly utilize that as a good tool to reach an amicable settlement, lawyers and clients have to be. Very well prepared about a case. Understand the dynamics. Understand what potentially are hot buttons in the other room, how to push him, how to draw off, how to bring people to the site to help a mediator reach an agreement.

And it's time and it's the preparation for that mediation is that time to go down a couple of those rabbit trails and decide, OK, well, this is an important thing that we need to worry about.

And this is not an important thing that they're going to try to throw at us, that we can you know, we can kind of shuffle to the side or have a response for it's an opportunity rather than blowing up based on the claims that they're making at the mediation.

This gives you an opportunity to kind of war game or game plan. You know, how you're gonna how you're going to tackle each each. Each scenario that comes up and work towards a kind of a creative solution.

Without a doubt. It's a little Sun Tzu, the art of war, in that, you know, there was one kind piece of that book that always stuck with me. And he's basically advising me like, you know, in order to properly defeat an enemy, you must always understand your enemy. And I think in this situation, not that you want you to be conceding each other like enemies, but your adversaries. You know, a lot of times you don't know which side of the table. You don't have the same interests. You don't have the same desired outcomes. And so you really have to have clear goals and objectives. You get into mediation and you have to have contingency plan, because I think like young lawyers that I've talked to in the past that helped prepare for mediation. You know, that's one of the things that I think they always struggle with, is they'll spend a lot of time and energy really knowing the case, knowing the issues. But then they see a black and white and where they miss out kind of gets and struggle on that day of mediation and sometimes maybe don't even settle because of it, is that they miss the shades of gray. They miss the opportunity to kind of think contingencies early on because that will help facilitate the day, because it's still a finite period of time. I'm not saying that most mediations are you can do a half to a mediation. Sometimes you may do a four day mediation and sometimes you have to maybe do multiple day mediation. But in that you're doing your client a disservice. And as a client, you're doing yourself a disservice by not preparing yourself for contingencies. Right. Being able to think through potentially if this were to come up, things that I don't necessarily believe would be an issue, what potentially could be and what are the alternatives that I could propose.

The other thing would be this gives you an opportunity to really dive into what the other side's contingencies are and what their hot button issues are and what their goals are so that you can really wrap your head around where they're coming from so that you either know how to respond or they you know, where there's common ground that can be, you know. You know, we're not trying to put together the Geneva Peace Accords here. And most of the time, sometimes we are. But for the most part, I mean, there is despite how much, you know, two people dislike each other when you're going through this process, there is a lot of times some common ground between the two of them and their positions. And you know what they would like to see? I mean, obviously, nobody wants harm to come to their children, for example.

And so you start there and you start working towards what is going to be a scenario where there's no harm, less or less lessen the impact of harm to the children. Now, you may have different viewpoints of, you know, what you think is best for kids. But I mean, you going to even start agreeing on little things and then those work? Well, a lot of times work into big things.

But the good point about it is it allows you to kind of understand at least what the goals of the other side are so that, you know, you know, you know, when your preparation and you know.

And your trial.

Yeah. And, you know, one of the new wrinkles that I would just advise clients that are listening to this are individuals who are listening to this and thinking about maybe mediation sounds like something that would be a great alternative for me to be able to resolve things with my significant other. You just gotta remember, like, COVID has really changed substantially that process. And so were before, you know, mediation. And it will be hopefully in the future again soon. You know, you're really showing up in a room like Bryan said. You had your attorney. You're in one room. The opposing party and their attorney are in the other room. The mediator is bouncing between the two. But as it stands right now, they're doing these the zoom. Now, that sounds like it would be, you know, substantially different. It is. I will tell you, like, not quite the boiler, the pot that you get tossed into in that boiler pressure that you feel being in the same location. But I would tell you, it's still the same process because what they will do is basically set up a zoom meeting or a Skype meeting room and then they will partition those individuals off. So you're still not seeing the other side. You're not participating in those conversations. But the mediator is actually bouncing through that electronically, which is new.

It's a new wrinkle. So the ever changing landscape of the law.

Well, I would also say that when you're in that room at mediation or when you're on Zoom or however you're doing the mediation, please understand that the role of the mediator is to try to get to a resolution. So the mediator is going to come in there in that room and is probably going to tell you the weak points of your case and something. You maybe don't want to hear and some things that are difficult to hear and some things that are upsetting to hear.

And what what you have to do is be ready for that. And you have to understand that they are doing the same thing in the other room, because I've.

I've heard it. I've heard it one time. I've heard it a hundred that clients come out. That mediator didn't like me. That mediator just took her side and didn't listen to me at all. And then and then the other person walks out of the room and says, mediator dislike me. They took the other side. They didn't listen to me at all. So you really have to be prepared for what the mediator role is. The mediators role is to work both sides towards the middle.

And that sometimes means that they're going to tell you stuff that you don't necessarily like or you don't necessarily want to hear, because the lawyer's role and the mediators role are very different, the lawyers there to advocate for you. But the mediator is there to try to see kind of both sides of the case and maybe tell you, hey, you know, there might be some weak points here. I'm not the judge, but there might be some weak points here. And there might be a chink in your your suit of armor over here.

And, you know, you may need to look at this and just evaluate the risk and evaluate, you know, the potential liability and all that kind of stuff. So I would tell you that the mediator's role is decidedly different than what your attorney's role is going to be in that process.

And don't and please understand that it's not the attorney's job to stand up and finger wag and found the desk and yell and scream and make a big spectacle in front of the mediator.

You know, that's not really the time for that. Time for that is down at the courthouse above. The attorney's role is to advocate for your interest, you know, whatever they may be.

But the and and but make sure you listen to the mediator, because you can really learn a lot about what the other side is saying. And you can really, you know, understand your can understand your your potential weaknesses in your case.

Yeah. Yes. Absolute art form. Trying to listen to what the mediator comes back into your room and says after having caucused with the other side to give you insights. And, you know, a smart, good, competent lawyer is really going to give you that insightful advice to help guide you to reach a good a good agreement that maybe you don't like all the provisions, but that usually means it's a good agreement if everybody comes out a little happy. The other thing I would tell you so like people will say, OK, well, what I feel like I would want to go to trial. I want my day in court. OK. And so I don't know about going to mediation. Now, what are you seeing, Bryan, about like cost advantages of mediation? I mean, is that something that you would.

Well, I would say a trial. I would say a trial cost at least I'd say on a good day, probably five times what a mediation will cost. And understand that the way that that the courts work in Texas, it's not like a TV show and it's not like, you know, a TV show where you you get your day in court. You're the only one there. And, you know, the judges hearing you and getting your full attention, you know, the judge saying it's not going to be like O.J. You're not going to get like a three month trial.

Tell your side of the story. You know, I had a really, really good lawyer. And actually this guy was a former judge told me that when you get into court, you if you need a full day, you're going to get a half day.

If you need a half day, you're going to get two hours. If you need a week, you're going to get three days. That's you know, that's kind of the bog down of the system here. And here's the other problem.

I once had a trial in a court where we went back six times on six different days over the span of two months. And you want to talk about how that trial was just passed and then it took another two months to get a decision. So that went on for about five months. And, you know, it was so disjointed. You know, we were an afternoon here and morning there, you know, and then we'd wait two weeks and come back and we had a full day. And then the last day we ended up going all afternoon and into the evening.

And, you know, the clients really walked away with a kind of a sour taste in their mouth just over the process alone because, you know, so they didn't feel like, you know, they were really hurt. And I promise you, the judge was very, very good judge and heard everything that was going on in the case. But they didn't feel like they were listened to because it was it was spread out over a long period of time.

You're not going to get these Hollywood versions of trial where you're you're in there. There's nobody bothering the judge. I got your full attention and the judge is into it and knows exactly what you're talking about. Sometimes sometimes the judges I've heard a hundred cases before yours and, you know, they consider it similar to what they've heard before.

So you've got to really consider all of those things.

Yeah. I mean, you know, the sad part of the situation and I try to tell clients about the cost is, you know, because people you know, we've said this before. I play go into court and clients like playing the sport of polo. Sport of kings. Super expensive to play that game. And it's super expensive to fight in court. You just spent a lot of money going through the discovery process to gather documents, to gather information, to marshal your case, to potentially go to trial. At this point, everybody gets a dose of reality because you'll have just seen that huge legal bill and said, wow, whatever it was, if it cost you fifty thousand dollars and cost you five thousand dollars, what? Criticizing your state. It's going to take a chunk of it to get ready to go to trial. And that's not the expensive trial. So that's just the getting ready so that I know it out there, so that I can be prepared to go to mediation if I can't let them, that I'm absolutely going to go to trial, which will be the next podcast that we talk about. But in this situation, you absolutely have an opportunity to stop the hemorrhaging. You have an opportunity to be realistic, to go in and really work with the other side to minimize your exposure and minimize your expense. That's what mediation really affords people the opportunity to do if they're willing to take.

Plus the emotional cost.

And I will tell you this, and this is you know, I would take this kid with me to my grave that if you end up duking it out in the courthouse and you're going to have to bring your best case when you go to the courthouse and save a lot of a lot of negative things about the other person, the other person is going to lay a lot of negative things about you.

You will not be speaking to that other person when you walk out of that courtroom. The good thing about mediation is that it does afford you the opportunity.

Sometimes parties, friends, and at least especially when you've got children and especially when you're trying to work out a co parenting relationship.

Yeah, that's a great point, Bryan, because, you know, as much as we'll tell people, you know, they're like, I just got to have my day in court. I want somebody to hear all the bad stuff that she did to me and, you know, admonish her and just tell her what a terrible person she is. You know, that's that's really amount of court's job. And that's really not going to be the process that you're going to get out of that that whole situation. You're going to get a big expense, a big bill, and you're definitely going to get probably an enemy that's going to come out of there with somebody that you you know, if they're kids involved especially, you're definitely going to have to go with that individual for a long period of time.

And keep in mind that if you if you get the short end of the stick, you're going to be you're gonna be licking their wounds and biding your time for the next time when you can get back in court and show, you know, that you're not a monster. They made you out to be.

Yeah, without a doubt. Bryan, you know, you're sitting there and you're going like, wow, you mean like that's a decision that the judge made. I guess what are my options then? A lot of money appealing. But in relation to this this topic, I guess. So you either settle and formally settle mediation. You know, if you as you kind of we wrap up this portion of it, Bryan, what would what advice would you give a client as they contemplate or consider mediation, regardless of what point in their case? I would tell you that, you know, if you get the opportunity to go to mediation, it's a good thing and it can't hurt. And there's a there's a good chance you can get your case resolved.

But I think it's just like anything else. I think you do have to go in there prepared. I think you do have to game plan out different scenarios. I think you do have to, you know, look at it because you have to look at it this way. I mean, I always tell people that if you have a list of 10 things, you may not get all 10 things. You may get seven of them. You may get eight of them. You may get six of them. Are you? Can you live with getting six of the 10 things, 10 top 10 things that you wanted? Can you live with getting seven or eight of the top 10 things that you wanted? You know, you're probably not going to get all 10 and the other side's not going to get all 10 either. So the mediation is going to be a compromise. So what you've got to kind of game plan out is OK, on my list of priorities, whether it be custody, property, whatever it is, this is most important to me. This is non-negotiable. This is negotiable, you know, and have that come in your mind going back and forth as you as you go through this process.

Yeah, I would echo those sentiments. Well, that is all we have for today. Stay tuned, because obviously we're going to come back and we're going to talk about the big granddaddy of Amol trial on our next one, the trial, the absolute trial, the media.

The biggest thing that we do as divorce lawyers and the thing that can have probably the biggest impact on your life would be a trial or a judge or or a jury is making a decision on your life. So stay tuned for that. We have that coming up next.

And if you want to get in contact with us, just reach out to us. Our Web site is www.astxlegal.com, and we'll be happy to send it to you.

Well, until next time, Bryan. As always, stay safe and well, my friend. Take care of you and yours.

Thank you for listening, and we hope you enjoyed the Top Texas Lawyers Podcast. If you'd like to schedule a consultation with either Bryan or Sam, please call 1-888-981-7509. Or visit us on the web at astxlegal.com. Once again, that's astxlegal.com. Thank you very much.

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