What is Mediation?
Mediation is a non-adversarial dispute resolution process that takes place away from the courtroom. You, your spouse, and your attorneys will meet to negotiate the terms of your divorce or family law issues in conversations guided by an impartial mediator.
Mediators are specially-trained professionals and experts in family law – who facilitate discussions between the parties to help them reach a settlement. They don’t offer legal advice but provide general information about the legal process to help you and your attorneys reach a workable solution.
At GoransonBain Ausley, many of our lawyers are also qualified mediators. Because we have experienced the process from both sides, we can make sure you’re thoroughly prepared to take part in mediation sessions – so you can achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.
Why do people choose Mediation?
It is not unusual to feel like a divorce or family law dispute is out of your hands – particularly if the courts are involved. Mediation gives parties greater control over their case, as well as more privacy. Benefits of mediation include:
- Directing the process and outcome– you decide the settlement of your dispute rather than leaving it to a judge.
- Saving costs and time– mediation is cheaper and faster than litigation, allowing you to move on with life sooner.
- Preserving relationships– protect important family relationships and avoid putting children through the stresses of litigation.
- Keeping things simple– if you and your spouse can agree on the terms of your divorce, mediation offers straightforward, uncomplicated approach.
- Finding creative solutions– mediation gives you the opportunity to find solutions that are better suited to your individual needs.
If you are able to reach an agreement through mediation, you can avoid the added disruption and expense of going to court. And if mediation does not work for you, you are free to explore other options to settle your divorce or family law dispute.
Is mediation legal and binding?
Mediation agreements are legal and binding if they are properly drafted and signed by the parties.
How long does divorce mediation take?
The length of mediation varies from case to case. The more prepared, honest, respectful, and cooperative the parties are with each other, the less time the mediation will take. If there are substantial or complex issues involved, then it should be anticipated that the mediation will take longer. On average, a divorce with both financial and child-related issues, can take eight mediation hours.
Will the mediator hear evidence and make a ruling like a judge?
Mediators are not Judges and they do not make rulings. The mediator has no authority to make either party do anything.
What is the cost of mediation?
The mediator charges a fee, and the fee arrangement will depend on the type of mediation the parties use. The mediator usually charges a flat fee if the mediation is scheduled for a full day or half day. If the parties meet with the mediator in shorter joint sessions, then the mediator typically charges an hourly fee. GoransonBain Ausley offers flat fee pricing for Mediation sessions outside the traditional half or full day sessions. If you are also represented by an attorney, then attorney’s fees will apply for time spent at the mediation and advising on your case.
Is mediation confidential?
All communication in mediation is confidential. The purpose of confidentiality in mediation is to allow the parties to freely discuss negotiation possibilities with the mediator. The rules prohibit either party from calling the mediator as a witness at trial or using any of the negotiation dialogue as evidence at the trial. Consequently, neither party needs to be concerned about whether they are harming their case should the mediation fail to result in a settlement.
Do we each need to be represented by a lawyer before we can hire a mediator to mediate our divorce?
No, you and your spouse do not each have to hire a lawyer to attend mediation and you do not need lawyers in order to mediate. We recommend that you consult with a family law lawyer prior to a mediation without lawyers so you will know the law relevant to the issues in your case.
Does the mediator give legal advice?
The mediator will not and cannot give you and your spouse legal advice. The mediator is not hired as an advocate for either party. Instead, the mediator facilitates the settlement discussion and helps you and your spouse problem solve so that you can reach an agreement.
Can mediation work if my spouse is a narcissist?
Mediation can work in situations where one or both spouses has a high-conflict personality, but it can be quite difficult and time consuming. If this is your situation, we recommend that you first consult with a skilled family law attorney to understand the pros and cons of proceeding more fully with a virtual or in-person mediation.
Does a mediator need to be a family lawyer?
To mediate in Texas, one does not have to be a family law attorney or even an attorney. However, if you are mediating a divorce or other family law issue, we recommend that you hire a mediator who is a family law lawyer so that you can ensure you are getting someone who understands the legal issues in your case and knows what you must reach an agreement on in order to have a complete agreement.
Will the mediator draft and file the needed paperwork for a divorce?
Yes, the mediator drafts a petition for divorce that one or both spouses would sign and the mediator will file it. The mediator will memorialize the agreement in writing for the parties to review and sign.