Divorce mediation is an attractive alternative to traditional divorce for many reasons. This is because the traditional divorce process requires more time and money than mediation and all the details of your divorce agreement are public record. When you use mediation to reach an agreement for your divorce, the details of your divorce are private.
It is important to realize while divorce mediation is typically much faster than litigated divorces, you will still have to wait the minimum of 61 days for your divorce to become finalized in Texas.
Contact us online or reach out directly to schedule a consultation with divorce mediation attorney Dawn Renken.
How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?
The mediation process can be as short as one session or last several weeks. Sometimes it can be longer. How long divorce mediation takes depends on factors such as:
- the number of issues to be addressed
- how complex the issues are (for example, if there’s a lot of property to divide)
- the time between sessions, and
- the level of cooperation between the spouses.
In mediation, you’ll have a lot more control of the process—especially when it comes to pace and scheduling—than you would with in a court case.
How to Choose a Mediator
In choosing a mediator, a lot depends on the issues you’re trying to resolve. For example, if your only disagreement relates to money or distribution of marital property, you might want a mediator who specializes in financial disputes. Or, if child custody is the main sticking point, you could opt to work with a mediator who is specifically trained in custody and visitation. However, any mediator you work with—specialized or not—should have divorce-specific training and be familiar with your state’s divorce-related laws.
Are Divorce Mediators Lawyers?
Divorce mediators come from many backgrounds. They are often lawyers, but they can also be other professionals like CPAs (certified public accountants), psychologists, social workers, or MFTs (marriage and family therapists). The most important qualification is that the mediator has divorce-specific mediation training. (Keep in mind that even lawyers who mediate disputes aren’t allowed to offer legal advice and must remain neutral.)
Mediators sometimes suggest that the spouses bring in specialists to address certain items. For example, it might be helpful to have an appraiser to assess the value of property so that it can be fairly divided between the spouses. Or a psychologist might be able to help resolve a stalemate on custody and visitation.
Even though hiring specialists might add to the cost of your mediation, you’d likely need to hire those same professionals if you went directly to court. And, in all probability, you’d be paying even more for their services, because they’d have to appear in court to testify.
What Makes a Good Mediator?
Many mediators offer a free informational session or have a thorough bio on their website—take advantage of these opportunities to find out as much as you can about qualifications when doing your research. Ideally, your mediator will have significant training (many mediation courses involve at least 40 hours of instruction) along with specialized divorce knowledge. A mediator who doesn’t focus on divorce might be qualified to handle your mediation, but a specialist might be able to suggest more creative solutions for issues you and your spouse are struggling to resolve.
Don’t be shy about asking how many cases the mediator has handled, and what percentage resulted in a written settlement agreement. However, if you’re very comfortable with a mediator who’s properly trained, lack of experience needn’t be a deal breaker.
You might also want to find out whether the mediator is certified by your state’s courts. Court certification isn’t always necessary to be a mediator, but it’s another indicator of expertise in the field. You might be able to find a list of certified mediators on the state court’s website.
Finally, choose a mediator you feel you can trust. Aside from expertise, you need someone who you believe will listen carefully and be even-handed in interacting with you and your spouse.
How to Find a Mediator
Recommendations from friends or family members who’ve been through divorce mediation are often the best referrals you can get. Here are some additional ways you might be able to narrow down your mediator search:
- Your marriage counselor or therapist. If you’ve used the services of a marriage counselor or therapist, ask them for the names of mediators they’ve worked with and trust.
- An online mediation service. If you decide to mediate online, you won’t have to pick a mediator—the service you choose will assign your case to a qualified mediator who appears to be a good match for your situation.
- Your local courthouse. The court clerk might maintain a list of court-appointed mediators who are available for private mediation.
- Your state court’s administration office. The office that oversees all the courts in your state might have a list of approved mediators—check the state judiciary website for a list or give the office a call.
- Your state or county bar association. Your state or county “bar association”—a professional organization of lawyers—might have a list of qualified mediators. Any mediators on the bar’s list are likely to be attorney-mediators.
- National and state mediation organizations and directories. The Academy of Professional Family Mediators, the National Association of Community Mediation, and the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals are just a few of the many organizations where you can find mediators.
What Does My Divorce Mediator Do?
The role of the mediator is to simply ensure all important matters are discussed and dealt with, as well as ensure neither party is using bully tactics in order to get the other party to agree to the terms they desire for their divorce. Your divorce agreement is only finalized when both parties agree to the terms of the divorce and sign off on it. If you are unable to work together to reach an amicable divorce agreement, mediation will not be a viable method for divorce. If you and your spouse are actively looking to work through your divorce together, Renken Law Firm can help by offering affordable divorce mediation in Houston, TX.
Divorce Attorney for Mediation in Houston
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.
Divorce Mediator Houston Texas
Renken Law Firm is here to help couples who wish to dissolve their marriage, whether that be through divorce or legal separation. We are here to help those who are ending marriages that have been contested, uncontested, or collaborative. We are fully prepared to help you navigate the specifics of your case. 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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