If you and your spouse are considering divorce and are open to working together to reach an agreement, divorce mediation might be an option worth exploring. Rather than going through the typical court process, mediation involves a neutral third party called a mediator who helps facilitate communication and negotiation between both spouses, allowing them to make decisions about their future.
Divorce mediation offers several advantages, including privacy and affordability. Unlike public courtroom proceedings, mediation gives couples more control over the final decisions made during their divorce. It promotes a cooperative and collaborative approach to resolving issues.
Dawn Renken, a family law attorney and licensed mediator, can provide valuable legal guidance throughout your divorce case. She can assist in resolving disputes, developing a child custody schedule, determining child support payments, dividing property, and addressing other important matters.
At what point in the divorce or custody process do we have to go to mediation? Do we have to file suit first?
You can go to mediation before or after you officially file your petition for divorce. The court may order you to go to mediation once you have filed, or you and your spouse may decide to attend mediation before your divorce decree is finalized.
If you decide to attend mediation once your case has started, you, or your lawyer, will need to let the judge know of your decision.
Do both parties have to abide by the mediated settlement agreement in a divorce?
A mediated settlement agreement for a divorce is binding if both parties agree that it will be binding. The agreement must:
- state, in bold typeface, capital letters, or underlined, that the agreement is not subject to revocation,
- be signed by both parties, and
- be signed by the party’s attorney, if any, who is present at the time the parties signed the agreement.
What if the court orders mediation for my divorce and I do not want to go?
You must go to mediation if the judge orders it.
A party can object to mediation if there have been incidents of family violence against the objecting party. The objecting party must object prior to the final mediation order and file a written objection to the referral of mediation.
I am afraid of my ex-spouse–do I have to go to mediation?
If there has been a proven history of family violence or you fear for your safety, you may not be required to attend mediation.
If you have been ordered to mediation, you should file a written objection to mediation on the basis of family violence at any time prior to the final mediation. Once an objection is filed, the suit cannot be referred to mediation, unless the opposing party requests a hearing to oppose your objection. If a hearing is held and there is not enough evidence to support your claim of family violence, mediation will be held.
However, the court will take appropriate measures to ensure your safety. For example, the mediation may be held in separate rooms where you do not have to have face-to-face contact with them.
The mediator plays a crucial role in helping the divorcing spouses navigate their negotiations. When a couple decides to divorce, communication and trust between them often become strained. This breakdown makes it challenging to discuss the dissolution of their marriage effectively. The mediator acts as a neutral party, creating a safe and supportive environment where both parties can express their concerns and opinions.
During mediation sessions, the mediator ensures that discussions remain respectful and free from interruption, blame, or misunderstanding. They guide the couple through the various issues that need to be addressed, ensuring that all relevant matters are discussed before reaching a final agreement. The mediator offers guidance, legal information, and assistance in finding solutions when conflicts arise.
Typical mediation sessions last about one to two hours, although some mediators may schedule longer sessions for more comprehensive assistance. The mediator helps establish an agenda for each meeting, keeping the spouses focused and encouraging effective communication. Common agenda items include child custody arrangements, division of assets and debts, and any other specific concerns related to the divorce.
Once all the agenda items have been addressed and compromises have been reached, the mediator drafts a divorce agreement. In some cases, a lawyer may be involved in the drafting process, especially if the mediator is not a lawyer themselves. The couple then reviews the agreement, either on their own or with the help of their own attorneys. After the final review, the necessary legal papers are filed in court, bringing the divorce process to a relatively quick conclusion.
Houston Divorce Law Firm for Dissolving Your Marriage
If you’re searching for an affordable divorce mediation lawyer, our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including locations such as Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, and The Woodlands. We understand that every marriage is unique, and each divorce presents its own set of needs that must be addressed. Reach out to our law office to explore your options and discover how we can assist you in moving forward.