Are you one of the millions of Americans currently exploring your options for divorce? These days, more and more divorcing couples are looking to explore alternative methods to dissolve their marriage. Mediation has become an increasingly more popular option these days due to the cost-efficiency, privacy, and ability to communicate directly while working through issues.
At Renken Law Firm, our team works with couples from all different backgrounds to reach amicable agreements in their divorce cases. Mediation provides a more private and affordable divorce alternative that can benefit you in many ways. If you are unsure if divorce mediation is right for you, read this blog post to gain insight into who divorce mediation is most successful for.
Arbitration VS Mediation
Both arbitration and mediation are private; a significant advantage when parties do not want to air their dirty laundry in public. Both can occur relatively quickly after the dispute arises, and both can be accomplished for a fraction of the cost of court litigation. However, that is about all that the two processes have in common.
In mediation, a neutral third party called (not surprisingly) a “mediator” tries to facilitate negotiations between the parties. Typically, a mediation will follow the same general agenda. First, the parties will meet together with the mediator and everyone is given an opportunity to introduce themselves and explain their position. The mediator will then usually break up the parties so s/he can meet with them individually. At this point, the mediator will normally try to better understand each side’s position while simultaneously pointing out any weaknesses in their cases with the goal of making the parties recognize the benefit of coming together in a settlement rather than proceeding to trial and hoping to achieve the best possible day in court. After some discussion, the mediator will see what sort of terms one party wishes to offer the other, and will then meet with the other party to convey this offer. This back and forth will usually continue until the parties have an agreement or until it becomes apparent that no resolution will be possible. If a settlement is reached, an agreement is put to paper and signed by the parties (and in a number of jurisdictions by the mediator, as well). If a party violates the settlement, it will give rise to a cause of action for breach of contract. If no settlement is achieved, the mediator will declare an impasse, and the case can proceed to trial.
Arbitration, on the other hand, is a much more involved process. When parties to a dispute select arbitration, a person (or sometimes a panel of three or more) called an “arbitrator” acts to investigate the facts, analyze the dispute, and render a decision on the matter. Usually, this is done in a process very similar to a trial, though with looser procedural requirements and shorter time frames. The parties agree to accept the decision of the arbitrator as final and binding and that the decision will be enforced by the courts if either party violates it.
An arbitrator presides over a hearing (the arbitration) in which witnesses testify and documents are considered, much like court litigation. Discovery and pre-hearing procedures are typically limited and
abbreviated to accelerate the process and keep costs down, but this can be extended by agreement of the parties. Similarly, the parties can institute other cost-saving measures such as eliminating transcripts and briefs if they are able to agree to these measures. Appeals from arbitration decisions are only available on very limited grounds and are rarely successful. Although arbitration is more formal and expensive than mediation, it is still less expensive and more expeditious than litigation.
The biggest distinction between mediation and arbitration, aside from the differing procedures, is that an arbitrator gets to make a formal decision about how the parties’ dispute should be resolved. Unlike a mediation, where a disagreement between the parties merely results in an impasse, in an arbitration the parties never have to agree to the outcome because it is decided for them by the mediator.
Will Divorce Mediation Work for Me?
Divorce mediation has become one of the most popular options for divorcing couples. While mediation is attractive for those who value their privacy and are looking for an affordable method to dissolve their marriage, it does not work for everyone. Mediation avoids conflict and allows couples to work together to reach a mutually beneficial agreement if they are able to work together. If you and your partner are not on the same page mediation may not be a realistic option. Follow below to learn more about what it takes to successfully mediate a divorce.
Both Parties Want The Divorce
In order for divorce mediation to be successful, both parties must agree to divorce. If both spouses agree the marriage is over, you can begin the divorce process by filing a petition together. When you’re working together and on the same page, the process will be simpler. Mediation is dependent on both parties working together to negotiate and find a resolution for any unresolved divorce issues in mediation.
Domestic Abuse Is Not A Factor
In order for a divorce to be mediated, both spouses and the mediator will need to meet, sometimes frequently, to discuss the divorce agreement. If there is a documented history that includes domestic abuse, many mediators will steer away from taking on clients like this. It makes it difficult to ensure both parties are being fairly represented and that no one is agreeing to terms because they are being intimidated into cooperating.
Without a doubt, finances and shared property are some of the most difficult matters to discuss and work through as a married couple. In order for mediation to truly work, both parties need to be transparent about their finances. This includes bank account information, retirement plans, pensions, stocks, debts, and more. Working with a mediator can help you take the proper steps so you do not forget any important factors when dividing property and finances.
Willingness To Put Children First
In divorce cases that involve children, it is extremely important that both parties come together to protect the best interest of the children. Divorce mediation can be a healthy place to discuss what co-parenting will look like moving forward. If you and your spouse cannot agree on custody, mediation may not be the best divorce method for you.
Why Choose Renken Law Firm?
Attorney Dawn Renken is a practicing family law attorney in Texas, that specializes in divorce cases in Houston, TX. Attorney Renken received her mediation license through ADR Services International Inc. in 2014. Since this time, she has worked with a wide range of divorcing couples looking for alternatives to traditional courtroom divorces. Mediation offers the opportunity to divorce without public court appearances or back and forth litigation. Mediation is a private method of divorce that allows both parties to work together to reach an amicable solution as a neutral third-party mediator works to ensure both parties are fairly represented in the final agreement.
Best Divorce Attorney in Spring, TX
Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.
Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
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