The Mediation Process: Providing Spouses with the Opportunity to Maintain Control Over their Case
Serving the Lewisville, Frisco and Denton Areas
In Texas, the vast majority of divorce cases resolve through mediation; and it is uncommon for cases to head to final trials.
What Exactly is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution facilitated by a neutral, impartial, third party, known as (you guessed it) a mediator. In describing the concept of mediation to my clients and potential clients, I always start by offering this pearl of wisdom:
The mediation process allows both parties to maintain some control over how their case resolves. Alternatively, once a case reaches court, the parties hand control straight to the judge. How the case resolves is now out of your hands.
After all, no one knows the ins and outs of your case more than you and your spouse; and the outcome will affect no one more than you and your family.
The family law legal team at The Law Office of Gregory C. Goline, PLLC has significant experience representing clients in the mediation of their cases. Our family law attorneys have helped hundreds of clients avoid litigation by successfully obtaining many favorable outcomes through mediation.
The Unique Role of the Mediator
The primary role of a mediator is to help parties avoid litigation by reaching a settlement agreement in their case. Effective mediators are skilled in:
- Opening the lines of communications between opposing parties and attorneys
- Bridging the gap between opposing positions
- Listening to both parties express why they feel their position is “correct”
- Educating the parties as to the reasonableness of their position(s), and offering valid opinions regarding the likelihood of success of those positions if decided by a judge
- Pointing out to the parties the realities and risks of litigation
- Explaining – in an effective and sensitive way – that neither party will be 100% thrilled with a mediated agreement; but that each party will walk away satisfied and relieved
Sometimes, a party simply needs to hear an opinion from an “outsider” before settling on a particular issue.
- Prior to mediation, both sides should submit proposals and supporting documents to each other and the mediator. This allows everyone the opportunity to see exactly where the parties disagree and what specific issues must be addressed.
- After the mediator instructs everyone as to the guidelines and the process, the parties separate into different rooms. The mediator goes back and forth to relay offers, counter offers, and other relevant points.
**Note: Any information discussed with the mediator is strictly confidential. This means that a mediator cannot relay information to the opposing party unless he or she has express permission to do so.
- The mediator continues the process as long as the parties progress towards settlement and until all the necessary issues are resolved through compromise. If progress stalls and it becomes clear that settlement is out of reach, the mediation concludes.
- If the mediation is successful, the resulting mediated agreement is signed by all parties and their attorneys and is binding.
- The agreement is then filed with the court, and the judge may decide to ask one or both parties some questions regarding their understanding of the terms of the agreement.
- Assuming things are in order, the judge (in almost all cases) approves the agreement and sets a date for submission of the final agreement (signed by all parties and attorneys).
- At that point, one of the Denton divorce mediation attorneys begins converting the simplified mediated agreement into a correctly-formatted formal decree containing the terms of the agreement as well as all of the pertinent language as required by Texas law.
- The completed draft circulates between all parties and their attorneys to be reviewed, signed, and submitted for final entry along with all supporting documents.
More Reasons to Consider Mediation
In addition to maintaining control over your own case, mediation is beneficial for a number of reasons, including the following:
- Keeps costs down
- Faster than litigation
- Cases are resolved much faster through mediation as the court may not schedule your case for several months
- Avoids the need for a final hearing (or at least results in the need for a simplified hearing)
- Allows parties to avoid the emotional angst, anxiety, and fear that can develop during a court battle
- May promote better co-existence between the parties going forward
Contact Us Today
The Law Office of Gregory C. Goline, PLLC is a local firm that is well established in the legal communities of Denton and North Texas. We know many of the skilled and highly-qualified mediators in the region, and we know who to use and who to NEVER agree to use.
We know how to effectively participate in mediation so as to negotiate the best possible outcomes for our clients. We also know when mediation may not be the best course of action.