In most divorce disputes, the court requires parties to attempt to resolve their issues through divorce mediation prior to trial. To protect your interests in mediation it is important to have an experienced attorney who can prepare you for the process and make sure you understand all of your rights and responsibilities.
At Sisemore Law Firm, P.C., in Fort Worth, Texas, we focus on providing counsel to our clients, tailored to the unique issues that are driving their case to mediation. Our attorneys have experience with all aspects of dispute resolution in divorce and are prepared to pursue an outcome that is in the best interest of you and your children. Call us for a consultation at (817) 336-4444.
With divorce mediation becoming a more common way of resolving differences, business are popping up throughout the Metroplex that offer to prepare divorce agreements without the need for a lawyer. In our practice we have represented individuals who had mediation agreements prepared by non-attorneys that did not sufficiently protect their rights. Our Fort Worth divorce lawyers have also seen these agreements turned down by judges, resulting in people needing the representation of an attorney after giving their money to a business that promised them results.
At our firm, we have successfully resolved complex divorces involving complicated financial and children’s issues for our clients. You can rely on us to consider all of the issues in your divorce and make sure that any mediated agreement is truly in your best interest. If mediation is not able to produce a sufficient result, we have the skills and resources to aggressively pursue your interests at trial to ensure you receive the best possible outcome. Contact our Fort Worth divorce mediation lawyers for a case consultation to discuss your concerns and get answers about the divorce mediation process. Call (817) 336-4444 or contact us online to arrange your consultation.
In Texas, the family courts typically require couples to go to mediation to settle their differences before resorting to litigation. During mediation, you and your spouse meet with a professional mediator in a neutral location (or virtually if necessary) to make decisions about the division of community assets and spousal maintenance (alimony), as well as child custody, visitation and support. Your divorce attorney may be present during mediation in Texas.
The mediator acts as a facilitator to help you resolve issues. He or she does not make decisions for you. Once you and the other party come to an agreement, the mediator prepares a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA), which both spouses, their attorneys and the mediator sign. An Agreed Final Decree of Divorce can then be prepared, after which it must be signed by the divorcing parties, their attorneys and the judge in order to finalize the divorce.
For couples that want to resolve their differences fairly and get on with life, mediation offers many potential benefits, including:
1). Confidentiality. While there are some steps your attorney can take to seal records pertaining to divorce litigation, divorce proceedings held in open court typically become part of the public record. On the other hand, anything discussed during mediation (as well as collaborative divorce) remains confidential.
2). Easier on the kids. Litigated divorces usually come with heightened emotions and conflict, which often transfers to any children involved. Airing your dirty laundry in open court can also be stressful and embarrassing for kids. Mediation offers privacy and a safe place to come to an agreement, without the highly charged atmosphere of litigation.
3). Less expensive. Couples with a mutual desire to negotiate fairly typically find they can resolve their differences much more quickly through mediation vs. going to court. Since you pay your divorce attorney based on billable hours, less time = lower legal costs.
4). May level the playing field. The mediator’s goal is to help the couple come to an agreement that is fair, equitable and agreeable to both parties. He or she comes into mediation as a neutral party and is not paid to take sides or make decisions for either spouse. A WORD OF CAUTION: Abusive or controlling spouses may use mediation to avoid negotiating fairly and draw the case out. In those situations, appearing in front of a judge may be a better option.
Unless you yourself are a divorce attorney, we recommend hiring a divorce lawyer to guide you during the mediation process. We’ve seen too many cases where clients have either tried to handle the mediation and related paperwork themselves or hired a professed “expert” to help prepare an MSA—both with disastrous consequences.
Even if you have a simple case—minimal to no assets and no children—a family law attorney can help ensure your rights and any assets are protected, all necessary paperwork is filed properly and your mediation and divorce is finalized as required by the law.