Resolving Differences By Putting You And Your Family First


Resolving Differences By Putting You And Your Family First

Divorce Mediation: Is it right for me?

Divorce mediation is enacted on television all the time, usually with an embattled couple sitting across the table from each other, with their lawyers at their sides. As they work out the details of their divorce, the shows typically infuse the scenes with the necessary drama. But what is it really like and is it right for you?Mediation is a desirable alternative to going to court, and for good reasons. The proceedings:

  1. Include a neutral third party to help navigate the terrain of shared property and differences and to help both sides understand the risks involved in going to court if you don’t reach an agreement
  2. The parties are usually in separate rooms
  3. Settlement offers are confidential to encourage the parties to try and reach an agreement without worrying that an offer they made will be used against them in court
  4. Your spouse and you control the agreements instead of a judge, so it allows you to get
  5. creative and come up with an agreement that fits your family
  6. Result in less wear and tear on the family unit
  7. Are cost effective in that an agreement reached in mediation will save you a lot of money rather than going to trial

All of this sounds good because it is! But it’s important for you to approach mediation with a few things in mind. Ask yourself these questions before you plow forward, full speed ahead. 1. Is your spouse reasonable? Are you? Mediation is meant for people who are motivated to come to an agreement. Both parties should come with the mindset that compromise will be necessary if you want to reach an agreement and avoid going to court. But you should not be discouraged even if you believe your spouse is unreasonable. Many times, a good mediator can still help the parties reach an agreement, especially if each party is represented by an attorney who will give them sound realistic advice. 2. Can you resolve your difference yourselves? If you can answer “yes” to this, you may not need mediation because you’ve already done all the hard work. You’re next step is to find a lawyer who can push your agreements through the court system. 3. Are you expecting the mediator to make decisions in your favor? If so, you’re going to be disappointed. Mediators are not there to take sides or make decisions. Their job is it to help the negotiations along and keep things civil, and that will usually require the mediator to point out risks each party has if the case goes to trial. 4. Is it too soon for mediation? It is possible to enter mediation too soon. For example, you cannot come to an agreement to divide your estate until you know what your estate is comprised of – how much is in retirement, what real property is involved, the value of any business interest you or your spouse may have, etc. You should not go to mediation until you know the facts, or you will be negotiating in the dark. 5. Are you willing to still go to court? Mediation has a high success rate, but there is always a possibility that you may not reach a settlement. When this happens, you will find yourself rehashing the same issues, only this time it will be in front of a judge. 6. Are you hoping to use mediation instead of lawyers? This is a common misconception about mediation. Most often, you will need at least one lawyer to process the divorce settlement through the legal system. It is also often recommended for you each to have your own lawyer, so that you are guaranteed to have someone on your side working towards your best interests whenever you lose sight of them. Michael Puhl is a certified mediator. The family law lawyers of Puhl Law Group, P.C. in McKinney, Texas are experiencedin representing clients in mediation and are skilled at reaching favorable settlements.