Category: Mediation

Is Divorce Mediation The Same As Couples Counseling

Is Divorce Mediation The Same As Couples Counseling?

When people hear the term “divorce mediation” they often wonder “Is divorce mediation the same as couples counseling?” It is important to make the distinction between the two because mediation is not counseling.

Mediation is a tool to help make the divorce process easier, quicker, and more affordable for both spouses. Mediation is not intended to help couple’s resolve issues and stay married. Your mediator is there to ensure both parties are working together, maintaining a calm and collected demeanor, and that neither party is using bully tactics to get there say in the divorce agreement. Your mediator works to ensure both parties are being heard and will help to navigate your discussions into productive places so you can stay on track and come to an amicable divorce settlement.

Stages of Mediation

Many people think that mediation is an informal process in which a friendly mediator chats with the disputants until they suddenly drop their hostilities and work together for the common good. It doesn’t work this way. Mediation is a multi-stage process designed to get results. It is less formal than a trial or arbitration, but there are distinct stages to the mediation process that account for the system’s high rate of success.

Most mediations proceed as follows:

  • Stage 1: Mediator’s opening statement. After the disputants are seated at a table, the mediator introduces everyone, explains the goals and rules of the mediation, and encourages each side to work cooperatively toward a settlement.
  • Stage 2: Disputants’ opening statements. Each party is invited to describe the dispute and its consequences, financial and otherwise. The mediator might entertain general ideas about resolution, as well. While one person is speaking, the other is not allowed to interrupt.
  • Stage 3: Joint discussion. The mediator might encourage the parties to respond directly to the opening statements, depending on the participants’ receptivity, in an attempt to further define the issues.
  • Stage 4: Private caucuses. The private caucus is a chance for each party to meet privately with the mediator. Each side will be placed in a separate room. The mediator will go between the two rooms to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each position and to exchange offers. The mediator continues the exchange as needed during the time allowed. These private meetings comprise the guts of mediation.
  • Stage 5: Joint negotiation. After caucuses, the mediator might bring the parties back together to negotiate directly, but this is unusual. The mediator usually doesn’t bring the parties back together until a settlement is reached or the time allotted for the mediation ends.
  • Stage 6: Closure. If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator will likely put its main provisions in writing and ask each side to sign the written summary of the agreement. If the parties didn’t reach an agreement, the mediator will help the parties determine whether it would be fruitful to meet again later or continue negotiations by phone.

 

Is Divorce Mediation Right for You?

While divorce mediation is a great solution for many couples looking to have an affordable and private divorce, it is not the right fit for everyone. Even if you ultimately decide mediation is not the process you wish to use when finalizing your divorce, it can be a helpful tool that allows you the ability to work with a neutral third party to discuss important factors in your divorce.

If you and your spouse are unable to communicate in a calm and productive manner or you are unable to meet in the middle on serious divorce issues, mediation may not work for you. Remember divorce mediation is not the same thing as couples therapy. Call us today to learn more about the mediation process and to get legal advice for your divorce.

 

Affordable Divorce Mediation in Houston, 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
(713) 956-6767
View our Website
View our Google Business Listing
View our Facebook Page

Strengthen Your Divorce Agreement With A Mediator

Strengthen Your Divorce Agreement With A Mediator

Traditional courtroom divorces can leave both parties feeling like they have no control over the terms of their divorce. You can strengthen your divorce agreement with a mediator that works to help both parties get a say in the outcome of their case. Your mediator has one goal, to help you both reach an amicable divorce settlement that promotes the best interest of any children involved.

The Role of the Mediator

Unlike a judge or an arbitrator, the mediator won’t decide the outcome of the case. The mediator’s job is to help the disputants resolve the problem through a process that encourages each side to:

  • air disputes
  • identify the strengths and weaknesses of their case
  • understand that accepting less than expected is the hallmark of a fair settlement, and
  • agree on a satisfactory solution.

The primary goal is for all parties to work out a solution they can live with and trust. Because the mediator has no authority to impose a decision, nothing will be decided unless both parties agree to it. The process focuses on solving problems in an economical manner—for instance, taking into account the cost of litigation rather than uncovering the truth or imposing legal rules.

That’s not to say that the merits of the case aren’t factored into the analysis—they are. The mediator will assess the case and highlight the weaknesses of each side, the point being to hit home the risks of faring far worse in front of a judge or jury, and that the penalty or award imposed will be out of the control of the litigants.

Stages of Mediation

Many people think that mediation is an informal process in which a friendly mediator chats with the disputants until they suddenly drop their hostilities and work together for the common good. It doesn’t work this way. Mediation is a multi-stage process designed to get results. It is less formal than a trial or arbitration, but there are distinct stages to the mediation process that account for the system’s high rate of success.

Most mediations proceed as follows:

  • Stage 1: Mediator’s opening statement. After the disputants are seated at a table, the mediator introduces everyone, explains the goals and rules of the mediation, and encourages each side to work cooperatively toward a settlement.
  • Stage 2: Disputants’ opening statements. Each party is invited to describe the dispute and its consequences, financial and otherwise. The mediator might entertain general ideas about resolution, as well. While one person is speaking, the other is not allowed to interrupt.
  • Stage 3: Joint discussion. The mediator might encourage the parties to respond directly to the opening statements, depending on the participants’ receptivity, in an attempt to further define the issues.
  • Stage 4: Private caucuses. The private caucus is a chance for each party to meet privately with the mediator. Each side will be placed in a separate room. The mediator will go between the two rooms to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each position and to exchange offers. The mediator continues the exchange as needed during the time allowed. These private meetings comprise the guts of mediation.
  • Stage 5: Joint negotiation. After caucuses, the mediator might bring the parties back together to negotiate directly, but this is unusual. The mediator usually doesn’t bring the parties back together until a settlement is reached or the time allotted for the mediation ends.
  • Stage 6: Closure. If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator will likely put its main provisions in writing and ask each side to sign the written summary of the agreement. If the parties didn’t reach an agreement, the mediator will help the parties determine whether it would be fruitful to meet again later or continue negotiations by phone.

Advantages of Divorce Mediation

You save time and money. If successful, mediation means sidestepping the formal process of divorce court. This shortens the process for the parties and helps minimize the caseload of the Family Court System.

Mediation is fair to all concerned. The mediator is a third-party who has no interest in the outcome. They stand to gain nothing. Because of their objectivity, they may be able to see solutions that the parties can’t because they are not emotionally invested in the outcome.

Mediation is a confidential process. There is no court reporter taking down every word said. Any notes taken by the mediator are thrown away afterward. You don’t have to worry about your dirty laundry being aired in public. There is no public court process.

The divorcing couple is in control and not at the mercy of a divorce court judge. 

How to Prepare for Divorce Mediation

Do your homework. Work with your attorney to make sure that all issues to be covered will have a fair and equal outcome for you. You will be mediating on child support, spousal support, retirement accounts, division of marital property, and debt. Be sure to have all your ducks in a row!

Beware of your future needs after a divorce. Do a post-divorce budget and go into mediation determined to negotiate for what you need to survive financially after divorce.

If you have children, make them your main concern. Parents can’t go into mediation with the hope of destroying the other if there are children involved. Keep in mind that children need two parents who walk away from divorce financially and emotionally whole.

Attorney Dawn Renken is a practicing family law attorney in Texas, who 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.

Contact our law office today to strengthen your divorce agreement with a mediator.

Affordable Family Lawyer Serving Houston, 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
(713) 956-6767
View our Website
View our Google Business Listing
View our Facebook Page

How To Make Divorce Mediation Work

How To Make Divorce Mediation Work

Are you trying to find out how to make divorce mediation work for your family? Working with an experienced family law attorney can help you find solutions throughout the divorce mediation process to ensure you reach an amicable settlement agreement.

The role of the mediator is to ensure both parties are being heard and are able to make informed decisions about the division of marital property, child support, child custody, spousal support, and much more.

Why Choose to Mediate Your Divorce?

Although judges often order divorcing couples to participate in mediation before going to trial, you have the option of mediating on your own—either before you file for divorce or at any time after. Mediating your divorce has a lot of advantages over litigating it (fighting it out in court).

Cost. Mediation is much less expensive than a trial.

Settling the case. Most mediations end in settlement of all of the issues in the divorce.

Confidentiality. Mediation is confidential, with no public record of what goes on in your sessions.

Freedom. Mediation allows you to arrive at a resolution based on your own ideas of what is fair in your situation, rather than having a solution imposed upon you based on rigid and impersonal legal principles.

Advice still available. You can go to mediation and still choose to have a lawyer give you legal advice.

Control. You and your spouse—not the court—control the process.

Communication. The mediation process encourages communication between you and your spouse, helping you avoid future conflicts.

Successful mediation makes the rest of your divorce easier: Because you’ve done all the hard work of hammering out the details in the mediation, you can file an “uncontested” divorce. Uncontested divorces are usually less expensive and faster than litigated divorces (divorces where the couple battles in court).

With an uncontested divorce, you’ll save money on attorneys’ fees and the costs of going to trial. Also, many courts fast-track uncontested cases because everything has been worked out in advance, meaning that a judge will be able to finalize your divorce faster than if you’d gone to trial.

Is Divorce Mediation For Me?

Divorce mediation is cost effective and one of the most private options for the process of divorce making it attractive for many people. If you want to know how to make divorce mediation work for you, read the following guidelines:

Who Should (and Shouldn’t) Consider Divorce Mediation

Mediation can work for many if not most divorcing couples, even ones who have hard feelings and lots of issues to resolve. While mediation is worth trying for most pairs, not all of them belong in mediation. Mediation might not be for you if:

  • You have experienced domestic abuse or fear for your or your children’s safety. If you are currently experiencing or recently experienced domestic violence or the threat of violence, mediation isn’t for you—you should seek assistance from a lawyer or other qualified source. If there was abuse in the relationship but it was some time ago, you should weigh the pros and cons of mediating carefully. Depending on the circumstances, some who have been abused might find it empowering to meet on the level playing field of a mediation session. Also, most mediators will take precautions to ensure that mediation occurs in safe conditions (for example, by meeting with the spouses separately). Others who have been abused, however, could reasonably find it traumatic to have to mediate or might feel the power or intimidation dynamics are too great—they might choose to have a lawyer do their negotiating for them. Also, some mediators won’t take cases that involve domestic violence.
  • Your spouse has a history of being deceitful or untrustworthy. If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, wasting funds, or lying, mediation probably isn’t worth your time. You won’t be able to successfully negotiate unless both spouses are truthful, make full disclosures, and play by the rules.
  • You suspect your spouse wants to delay the proceedings. Because the mediator can’t order either of you to do anything, a person who wants to delay the proceedings or avoid paying support can abuse the process by agreeing to mediation and then stalling the process.
  • One of you is claiming fault or has hired a lawyer. When a spouse is claiming that the other is legally at fault for ending the marriage (a claim you can’t make in all states), a successful mediation is less likely—but not impossible. If your spouse has already hired a lawyer, you should strongly consider hiring one, too. Your lawyer will help you decide if participating in mediation is worth it based on the facts of your situation.

 

Affordable Family Lawyer Serving Houston, 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
(713) 956-6767
View our Website
View our Google Business Listing
View our Facebook Page

Will Divorce Mediation Save Me Money

Will Divorce Mediation Save Me Money?

For divorcing couples, the cost of divorce often factors into when they will be able to complete their divorce and which method they choose for divorce. Many people wonder, will divorce mediation save me money? It is true, that in most cases the mediation process is a more affordable method for divorce.

It allows for easy negotiation between both parties, saving time and money. Your mediator will be able to provide legal advice to both parties and work to help you tackle the most serious divorce issues such as child custody, child support, property division, and more.

How Does Divorce Mediation Work?

In divorce mediation, spouses meet with a specially trained mediator to discuss and attempt to resolve the issues in their divorce. Divorce mediators are often lawyers, but it’s not a requirement: Some mediators are financial specialists (like CPAs), psychologists, social workers, or MFTs (marriage and family therapists). Mediation can occur in person or online.

Mediators don’t serve as an advocate for either spouse—they remain neutral throughout the mediation. Additionally, mediators don’t make decisions about the divorce. Instead, they use their knowledge, skill, and experience to help the couple reach a compromise they can live with.

At the end of a successful mediation, the spouses will have a marital settlement agreement that lays out their agreements about the issues in their divorce. A successful mediation doesn’t result in a divorce, though—the spouses still have to present the settlement agreement to the court to approve. Because the spouses have settled, they can file an “uncontested” divorce, meaning that the court needs to only approve the settlement agreement and issue a final divorce decree. Courts usually can resolve an uncontested divorce within a month or so—much faster than a contested divorce would be finalized.

What Factors Affect Total Mediation Costs?

  • The complexity of your case. If you and your spouse have worked out most issues in your divorce, you might turn to mediation to resolve one remaining sticking point. In that situation, you might very well reach an agreement in one session. In contrast, mediation will almost surely take longer when you have several issues to work out, such as what to do with the family home, how to divide other assets (like retirement plans or a family business), whether a spouse will provide support that’s not legally required (like contributing to a child’s college expenses), and difficult custody disputes (for instance, when one parent wants to move far away with the children).
  • The level of conflict. When one or both spouses aren’t able to set aside their residual anger, controlling behavior, or even emotional abuse during mediation, the process of reaching a settlement will always take longer—or may lead to a stalemate, which would mean the cost of mediation was essentially money down the drain. (That’s one reason divorce mediation is generally inappropriate when there is ongoing domestic abuse in a relationship.) In some cases involving a history of abusive or bullying behavior, the mediator may recommend meeting separately with each spouse, which could increase the cost (because that would take more of the mediator’s time.)
  • Willingness to engage in mediation. Even when a couple doesn’t have a high level of conflict, mediation might get bogged down if one spouse just isn’t ready, on an emotional level, to deal with the practical and financial issues related to the divorce. It can also take longer to reach an agreement if both spouses aren’t willing to come prepared for mediation and do their homework.

 

If you are unsure if divorce mediation will save you money, consider the factors mentioned above. You can also contact our law office to schedule a consultation with our team.

Affordable Family Lawyer Serving Houston, 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
(713) 956-6767
View our Website
View our Google Business Listing
View our Facebook Page

What No One Tells You About Divorce Mediation

What No One Tells You About Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation is a process that provides divorcing couples the opportunity to work through their divorce-related issues to reach an amicable solution that fits their specific needs. Mediation is typically a less stressful and less expensive alternative to a divorce trial. In this article we will go over what no one tells you about divorce mediation so you can determine if it is a good fit for you.

Divorce Mediation is Faster: One of the most alluring qualities of divorce mediation is the fact that the process typically is much faster than a courtroom divorce. This is because both parties are able to directly communicate, in the presence of a mediator, to work out their conflicts. In traditional divorce cases, the parties will communicate through their attorneys. This leads to slow and drawn out negotiations. If you are looking for a faster way to divorce, mediation may be your best option.

Divorce Mediation is Private: Anything that is said or submitted as evidence in a courtroom divorce, including financial documents, becomes public record. This can be detrimental to individuals who wish to remain private in their matters. When you work with a divorce mediator everything you discuss in your mediation sessions is completely private. The only people who need to know the specifics of what goes on between the divorcing spouses is the mediator they have both selected. If privacy is a top priority for you, consider divorce mediation.

Divorce Mediation is Affordable: Divorce mediation allows couples to cut out a lot of additional costs that can quickly make a divorce very expensive. You will be able to share the mediator instead of both paying for an attorney, you will be able to reduce the time you spend in negotiations, and in many cases there is no need for more than a couple of sessions to hammer out all of the details of your divorce agreement.

Mediation Can Work If You Have Kids: Even if you are working through serious divorce issues such as custody and child support agreements, mediation can work for you. Mediators are trained to help you consider all potential possibilities and scenarios you will want to plan for in the future.

How Does Mediation Work?

The mediation process starts once you and your spouse agree to use this method of alternative dispute resolution and choose your mediator. In most states, mediation is voluntary, so if either spouse disagrees and wants to follow the traditional divorce route, a court won’t force your spouse to engage in mediation. That said, there are some states where the court requires couples to demonstrate a good faith effort in mediation before scheduling additional court hearings.

Mediation will only work if both spouses are open to negotiating the terms of the divorce. Typically, you’ll set up an initial meeting between the spouses and the mediator. During the first meeting, each spouse will have the opportunity to explain expectations for the most common divorce-related issues, including:

  • property division
  • child custody and visitation
  • child support, and
  • alimony or spousal support.

This initial discussion will help the mediator gain an idea of how far apart you are and what areas need the most work.

Aside from statutory limitations of divorce, mediation doesn’t have a time limit. You can continue to mediate and work on your divorce judgment for as long as you, your spouse, and the mediator would like. Naturally, the longer it takes and the more meetings you have, the more expensive it becomes. You can decide to meet once per week, monthly, or at any other time. Most couples can resolve mediation with a few sessions, which typically costs thousands of dollars less than litigating your case in court.

Once you agree on all the outstanding issues, the mediator will draft a divorce settlement agreement for both spouses (and their attorneys) to review, sign, and present to the judge.

If you are interested in hiring a mediator after reading what no one tells you about divorce mediation, reach out to Renken Law Firm today. 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.

Affordable Family Lawyer Serving Houston, 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
(713) 956-6767
View our Website
View our Google Business Listing
View our Facebook Page

Can Divorce Mediation Work If We Have Kids

Can Divorce Mediation Work If We Have Kids?

The mediation process works for families of all different types of backgrounds. If you are looking to avoid the court system, safe money, and have a private divorce process, our family law divorce lawyers can help you. We provide legal advice and custody mediation to help you reach an amicable divorce settlement.

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is about you and your soon to be ex-spouse deciding your own divorce and what is best for the both of you and most importantly, your children. In mediation, you and your spouse meet with a neutral third party, the mediator, and with their help, you work through the issues you need to resolve so the two of you can end your marriage as amicably and cost effective as possible. The issues covered include but at not limited to the following:

  • Distribution of Property (Assets/Liabilities)
  • Child Custody and Parenting Time
  • Child Support/Maintenance
  • Retirement
  • Taxes

 

In mediation, the couple, with the help of the mediator, works out agreements on the above issues. Sometimes agreements come easy, sometimes they take time and a lot of work. When agreements are hard to reach, that is when the mediator intervenes. It is the mediators job to keep the lines of communication open, brainstorm ideas, reality test the couple, teach empathy and assist the couple in their decision making process. Mediators help keep the couple focused on the issues at hand, trying not to get them off track. When divorcing couples get off track and away from the above issues during mediation, arguing, name-calling and bad prior memories are brought up.

Mediation is flexible and confidential. It gives you and your spouse a way to settle the conflict between you in a way that helps you to work together as parents. This is extremely important if you have children and must interact with your ex-spouse after you are divorced. Mediation brings about communication between the couple, which can then be used when they must discuss issues in pertaining to the children. Lack of communication may have been one of the main reasons for their divorce. Mediation has the ability to help the couple learn to communicate again, if only for the sake of the children, and make their post-divorce relationship better than their married one.

A divorce mediator is neutral and doesn’t “work” for either parent. That means the mediator can not give advice to either party. They must remain neutral no matter what the situation.

What the mediator can do, though, is assist the divorcing couple in formulating ideas that can eventually lead to agreements that will stand the test of time. That open and free exchange of information frees up both spouses to negotiate with each other in confidence. Because both spouses are working with the same base of information, it usually takes far less time to negotiate a resolution that makes sense to both spouses.

Mediation is voluntary. It continues only for so long as all three of you – you, your spouse, and the mediator — want it to. Mediations can be conducted weekly, every two weeks, monthly or how ever often the couple wants them to be. This is their mediation and they decide everything in the process.

Experienced Houston Divorce Mediators

Dawn Renken, became a licensed mediator through ADR Services International Inc. in 2014. Since this time, Attorney Renken has been working as a Cypress divorce mediation expert with couples to help them work together to reach divorce agreements that are mutually beneficial for their long term needs.

Divorce Mediation For Families in Houston

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
(713) 956-6767
https://therenkenlawfirm.com
Google Business Listing

Affordable Divorce Options in Texas

Affordable Divorce Options in Texas

It is no secret that the divorce process is emotionally and financially straining on many couples. When you are looking for an affordable option to file for divorce, divorce mediation can be an excellent alternative for you. This will help to reduce the divorce cost, while also ensuring you are getting quality legal advice to guide you through the process. Working with a divorce attorney can help you handle all of the divorce forms and issues that come up with family law cases in the state of Texas.

If divorce mediation does not work for you, there are other options such as filing for a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce in Texas. Call us today to learn more about your options for divorce.

 

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a process that allows divorcing couples to meet with a specially-trained, neutral third-party to discuss and resolve common divorce-related issues. Mediation is typically less stressful and less expensive than a divorce trial, and it usually proceeds much faster. Because you and your spouse have the final say over your divorce matters, mediation also allows couples to maintain the power and control in their divorce, as opposed to asking a judge to decide.

Mediation gives you and your spouse the opportunity to build your communication skills, even in situations where a lack of communication was the cause for the relationship’s demise. With the help of a trained professional, even the most communication-challenged couples can succeed in mediation.

 

How Do Parents Choose a Mediator?

There’s no doubt that divorce becomes more complicated when it involves children. Parents seeking a divorce will need to select a mediator who is trained to handle the various issues that come with divorce, like child custody, visitation, and child support.

Your mediator should be trained in conflict resolution and have extensive knowledge of your state’s divorce laws. Additionally, your mediator should be willing to work with you and your spouse to facilitate a meaningful conversation about the issues at hand, which can help eliminate the finger-pointing and other drama that usually accompanies divorce. Typically, mediators will keep you on track and may make suggestions to help you resolve any lingering issues. However, your mediator can’t make decisions for you, force either spouse to accept a term, or insist that either spouse sign a contract.

 

How Does Mediation Work?

The mediation process starts once you and your spouse agree to use this method of alternative dispute resolution and choose your mediator. In most states, mediation is voluntary, so if either spouse disagrees and wants to follow the traditional divorce route, a court won’t force your spouse to engage in mediation. That said, there are some states where the court requires couples to demonstrate a good faith effort in mediation before scheduling additional court hearings.

Mediation will only work if both spouses are open to negotiating the terms of the divorce. Typically, you’ll set up an initial meeting between the spouses and the mediator. During the first meeting, each spouse will have the opportunity to explain expectations for the most common divorce-related issues, including:

  • property division
  • child custody and visitation
  • child support, and
  • alimony or spousal support.

This initial discussion will help the mediator gain an idea of how far apart you are and what areas need the most work.

Aside from statutory limitations of divorce, mediation doesn’t have a time limit. You can continue to mediate and work on your divorce judgment for as long as you, your spouse, and the mediator would like. Naturally, the longer it takes and the more meetings you have, the more expensive it becomes. You can decide to meet once per week, monthly, or at any other time. Most couples can resolve mediation with a few sessions, which typically costs thousands of dollars less than litigating your case in court.

Once you agree on all the outstanding issues, the mediator will draft a divorce settlement agreement for both spouses (and their attorneys) to review, sign, and present to the judge.

 

Affordable Divorce Lawyer Serving Houston, 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
(713) 956-6767
https://therenkenlawfirm.com
Google Business Listing

What Role Do Divorce Lawyers Play In Mediation

What Role Do Divorce Lawyers Play In Mediation

Mediation offers an opportunity for divorcing couples to work out the terms of their divorce agreement with an impartial third party. The mediation process is typically much less expensive and time consuming than the traditional divorce process. While you do not have to use a divorce attorney in your mediation session, they are familiar with state laws and have the most experience dealing with divorce cases. This allows them to give thoughtful legal advice and help couples work through complex matters such as spousal support, child custody, property division, and more.

Your family law attorney can work with both parties throughout the divorce mediation to ensure they are being heard and that their needs are being met. They are present to ensure that no one is being intimidated into signing a divorce agreement that does not serve them. If emotions get high or one person is becoming aggressive your mediator may reschedule the session or decide mediation is not a good option for your situation.

If you are considering mediation for your Texas divorce, call our law firm today. The team at Renken Law Firm work with families from all different backgrounds to find solutions for their specific situation.

 

Why Choose to Mediate Your Divorce?

Although judges often order divorcing couples to participate in mediation before going to trial, you have the option of mediating on your own—either before you file for divorce or at any time after. Mediating your divorce has a lot of advantages over litigating it (fighting it out in court).

  • Cost. Mediation is much less expensive than a trial.
  • Settling the case. Most mediations end in settlement of all of the issues in the divorce.
  • Confidentiality. Mediation is confidential, with no public record of what goes on in your sessions.
  • Freedom. Mediation allows you to arrive at a resolution based on your own ideas of what is fair in your situation, rather than having a solution imposed upon you based on rigid and impersonal legal principles.
  • Advice still available. You can go to mediation and still choose to have a lawyer give you legal advice.
  • Control. You and your spouse—not the court—control the process.
  • Communication. The mediation process encourages communication between you and your spouse, helping you avoid future conflicts.

Successful mediation makes the rest of your divorce easier: Because you’ve done all the hard work of hammering out the details in the mediation, you can file an “uncontested” divorce. Uncontested divorces are usually less expensive and faster than litigated divorces (divorces where the couple battles in court).

With an uncontested divorce, you’ll save money on attorneys’ fees and the costs of going to trial. Also, many courts fast-track uncontested cases because everything has been worked out in advance, meaning that a judge will be able to finalize your divorce faster than if you’d gone to trial.

 

Affordable Divorce Mediation Lawyer

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
(713) 956-6767
https://therenkenlawfirm.com
Google Business Listing

What Happens After Divorce Mediation Settlement

What Happens After Divorce Mediation Settlement

Mediation is a popular choice for divorcing couples because in most aspects, it is easier and less complex than marriages dissolved through litigation. One of the main perks of working with your spouse to come up with a divorce agreement is that once you have agreed to the terms of your divorce, it will not require much more effort to become finalized.

Once you have come up with a divorce agreement that both parties fully agree on, you will just need to fill out a few forms and file them with the appropriate court. When you work with a family law attorney as your divorce mediator, such as Dawn Renken, they will be able to file all of this paperwork for you.

You and your spouse will have a final review hearing as well, to ensure everyone is on the same page as far as the final divorce agreement. In some cases it is possible to file a motion to have the requirement of your attendance waived. The hearing will not be a long and drawn out process, the judge will just want to ensure both parties are aware of what they are signing and in agreement with the terms outlined.

Attorney Dawn Renken is here to help assist you throughout your divorce case. She has decades of experience and understands how mediation works, even in complex divorces with child custody and support issues. If you are considering divorce mediation reach out to our law firm today.

 

How Do You Complete Your Texas Divorce After Successful Mediation?

After you’ve signed a mediated settlement agreement, the final divorce paperwork will have to be prepared and filed, including:

  • the proposed final divorce decree, and
  • a motion to enter a judgment based on your agreement.

When your mediated settlement agreement meets the requirements discussed above (including the statement that it can’t be changed), Texas law says that you are entitled to a final divorce decree that follows the terms of the mediated settlement. That’s true whether the mediation took place before you filed for divorce or during the divorce proceedings.

This rule has only two exceptions. The first is if the judge finds that the settlement was illegal or resulted from fraud, duress, or coercion. The second exception is if the agreement isn’t in a child’s best interests, and either:

  • a spouse’s decision-making was impaired due to being a victim of domestic violence, or
  • the agreement allows unsupervised access to a child by a parent with a history of physical or sexual abuse.

Unless one of those circumstances applies, the judge may not refuse to enter a divorce decree based on what a mediated settlement agreement says—even if the judge doesn’t believe it’s fair or in a child’s best interest.

 

Affordable Divorce Mediation Lawyer

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
(713) 956-6767
https://therenkenlawfirm.com
Google Business Listing

What Can I Expect From a Divorce Mediator

What Can I Expect From a Divorce Mediator

These days many couples going through the divorce process are choosing mediation. If you are interested in learning more about how our divorce attorneys can help you with an alternative dispute resolution read below about divorce mediation.

 

What Is Divorce Mediation?

In divorce mediation, you and your spouse meet with a trained, neutral mediator to discuss and resolve the issues in your divorce. Mediation sessions often take place in an informal office setting, but you might also be able to go through your mediation online.

A mediator can help you reach agreement on the issues you and your spouse need to resolve in order to finalize your divorce, such as child custody, child support, and property division. Mediators don’t make decisions or offer legal advice, but rather serve as facilitators to help spouses figure out what’s best for their situation.

When spouses reach agreement through mediation, most mediators will draft (and possibly file with the court) a divorce settlement agreement.

 

Why Choose to Mediate Your Divorce?

Although judges often order divorcing couples to participate in mediation before going to trial, you have the option of mediating on your own—either before you file for divorce or at any time after. Mediating your divorce has a lot of advantages over litigating it (fighting it out in court).

  • Cost. Mediation is much less expensive than a trial.
  • Settling the case. Most mediations end in settlement of all of the issues in the divorce.
  • Confidentiality. Mediation is confidential, with no public record of what goes on in your sessions.
  • Freedom. Mediation allows you to arrive at a resolution based on your own ideas of what is fair in your situation, rather than having a solution imposed upon you based on rigid and impersonal legal principles.
  • Advice still available. You can go to mediation and still choose to have a lawyer give you legal advice.
  • Control. You and your spouse—not the court—control the process.
  • Communication. The mediation process encourages communication between you and your spouse, helping you avoid future conflicts.

Successful mediation makes the rest of your divorce easier: Because you’ve done all the hard work of hammering out the details in the mediation, you can file an “uncontested” divorce. Uncontested divorces are usually less expensive and faster than litigated divorces (divorces where the couple battles in court).

With an uncontested divorce, you’ll save money on attorneys’ fees and the costs of going to trial. Also, many courts fast-track uncontested cases because everything has been worked out in advance, meaning that a judge will be able to finalize your divorce faster than if you’d gone to trial.

 

Who Should (and Shouldn’t) Consider Divorce Mediation

Mediation can work for many if not most divorcing couples, even ones who have hard feelings and lots of issues to resolve. While mediation is worth trying for most pairs, not all of them belong in mediation. Mediation might not be for you if:

You have experienced domestic abuse or fear for your or your children’s safety. If you are currently experiencing or recently experienced domestic violence or the threat of violence, mediation isn’t for you—you should seek assistance from a lawyer or other qualified source. If there was abuse in the relationship but it was some time ago, you should weigh the pros and cons of mediating carefully. Depending on the circumstances, some who have been abused might find it empowering to meet on the level playing field of a mediation session. Also, most mediators will take precautions to ensure that mediation occurs in safe conditions (for example, by meeting with the spouses separately). Others who have been abused, however, could reasonably find it traumatic to have to mediate or might feel the power or intimidation dynamics are too great—they might choose to have a lawyer do their negotiating for them. Also, some mediators won’t take cases that involve domestic violence.

Your spouse has a history of being deceitful or untrustworthy. If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, wasting funds, or lying, mediation probably isn’t worth your time. You won’t be able to successfully negotiate unless both spouses are truthful, make full disclosures, and play by the rules.

You suspect your spouse wants to delay the proceedings. Because the mediator can’t order either of you to do anything, a person who wants to delay the proceedings or avoid paying support can abuse the process by agreeing to mediation and then stalling the process.

One of you is claiming fault or has hired a lawyer. When a spouse is claiming that the other is legally at fault for ending the marriage (a claim you can’t make in all states), a successful mediation is less likely—but not impossible. If your spouse has already hired a lawyer, you should strongly consider hiring one, too. Your lawyer will help you decide if participating in mediation is worth it based on the facts of your situation.

For divorces without those kinds of circumstances, divorce mediation can be a great option. It’s especially effective when both people show up open to compromise.

Don’t reject mediation just because you and your spouse see a particular issue very differently—in other words, don’t give up before you’ve begun. Mediation is a powerful process, and many cases that seem impossible to resolve at the beginning end up in a settlement.

 

Texas Family Law Firm

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
(713) 956-6767
https://therenkenlawfirm.com
Google Business Listing