For many people, mediation is an effective way to work through the disagreements in their divorce and come to a final agreement on all terms. If mediation is successful, spouses can avoid a trial before a judge and can determine between themselves (with the help of attorney counsel) the right decisions in way of child custody, division of assets, and other factors in a divorce decree.
It is advisable to go through mediation with adequate counsel by your side and keeping several things in mind.
Things to know about mediation
Do you have adequate counsel from a qualified lawyer? What are your goals going into mediation? Do you have all the facts to enter into a possibly irrevocable agreement with the other party?
In mediation, everyone involved is bound to privacy. Nothing that is discussed with even be given to the judge in charge of your case. The judge only sees the final agreement. These privacy rules are very important to allow each party to be flexible and suggest solutions that may never be awarded to the court. if each party believes anything they say during mediation can be used against them at a later date, neither party will ever truly communicate. The process of compromise and working together to reach a collaborative agreement to build a new, working life after divorce.
Many parties that go through trial divorce end up feeling that they weren't truly heard, that their story was abbreviated, and the judge was not fully aware of all the facts before coming to a decision. Having an objective 3rd party can be beneficial at times, but most will agree that the best architects of your family's life after divorce should be you and your spouse.
Mediation offers control in the outcome. The process of mediation is about you. It can be fast and deliberate or you can take time to ask questions and mull over different ways to move forward. When both you and your spouse come to an agreement, it is final. it is signed and given to the judge to approve. No one can sleep on it and come back the next day and reject it or alter it. The power and control lies in the hands of you and your spouse. In almost all instances, the Court is bound by the agreement just like the parties are so make sure you have an attorney with you prior to attending mediation so you can make sure the deal is one that you know is in you and your family’s best interests.
Mediation occurs at different times in different jurisdictions. In Harris and Montgomery Counties, mediation may occur at two different times. Once in advance of attending any contested matter in temporary hearing and once before attending final trial. Other counties in Texas and in Florida may only require that mediation be attempted once before final trial. Make sure you speak to an attorney to ensure you know what to expect and how to best use this power tool in your case to ensure it is a worthwhile endeavor
Litigation is expensive; mediation is considerably less. Litigation is taxing both to the estates of the parties as well as to the mental and emotional state of being of the parties. Parties often like the idea of saving expense of litigation and ensuring that the most amount of funds is maintained in the parties' accounts rather than getting spent via litigation on attorneys and court costs. If you have worked hard, planned to build a life, have bought and taken care of a home, saved for your children’s college or for your retirement, then it is likely you understand this sentiment. However, the other part of mediation that parties tend to appreciate is that no one has to draw their sword to win a final outcome in their matter. Parties with children will have a lifetime of interaction with one another and if things did not work out as you had hoped, the last thing most people want is an enemy for life in their once significant other. Many times litigation ensures that you both pay money to attorneys who work diligently to take care of you and your case, possibly pay for private investigators, drug tests, co-parenting classes, counseling and psychological evaluations, for expert witnesses, forensic accountants, business valuators, court reporters and the costs of discovery, and that is just the beginning. All this and you still have no guarantee that you can control any outcome or what the Court orders in you case. What you do know is the expense. Financially, the money that you were saving to build the best life for yourself or your children has been reduced or even completely eliminated. Emotionally, you have felt the expense as well through sleeplessness, insecurity, anger, pain, sadness and bitterness and are completely and utterly exhausted. That expense is why mediation is so attractive to many parties. You limit your expense on all fronts and often times create the best possible solution for all those involved simultaneously.