Allow me to paint a picture for you of what many people I have worked with within family law cases believe that their case will look like from beginning to end. The case starts with a lot of stress because you are having to go through extreme life changes associated with your family. Whether you are going through a divorce or child custody case the fact is that you are shaking up what is likely the greatest point of stability that you ever had in your life. Willingly putting an end to your marriage or two your family life with your child as you knew it is a big step. It can be difficult even if it is the right thing to do. The decision to file a family law case requires some degree of bold action.
Once your case is filed then you still must contend with talking to your children about the child custody circumstances or divorce. They are going to have many questions. Many of the questions that they do have are going to revolve around subject matter that you do not have a ready answer to or that you are not excited to answer in the first place. Either way, you inevitably have the duty to answer those questions to the best of your ability and to the best extent possible considering their age. This will not be fun, but it is part of the job when you file a family law case.
Once your family law case is officially underway you move into a phase where you are not exactly sure what is going to happen. Are you going to be stuck in an endless loop of arguing or going over the same information again and again with your co-parent or opposing party? What are the possible outcomes in a contested child custody or divorce case? These are all relevant questions to ask yourself in terms of a family law case especially when you have never been involved in one before. The best that you can do is to learn information that could not only help you in the case but provide you with some Peace of Mind for the time being.
Like most things in life, it is the fear and concern over what you do not know and do not understand that can be such a burden for you at this time. When you hear from other people just how difficult a family law case can be you have good cause to be worried or concerned. However, I want to spend today’s blog post discussing with you a topic that might be able to help you in calling your concerns and may increase your likelihood of moving forward with the case.
That is one of the hardest parts of this process. Many people choose to not even begin a family law case out of concern based on things that they have heard from other people. However, be aware that so much can be lost in translation especially when you hear from people who have only negative things to say about your chances of achieving a successful result in your case. Therefore, we can share with you some information today that should put you at ease not only thinking about a divorce or child custody case but about your chances of achieving success once you decide to move forward with filing this type of case.
The great equalizer in a child custody or divorce case is mediation. Many people in your shoes have never heard of mediation and if they have, they may be unclear about the benefits it can provide to you and your family. Without a doubt, mediation helps people of all types achieve success in situations that might have seemed impossible or at the very least extremely difficult to deal with. Since this is such an important subject that may go under-discussed in many circumstances, we should take some time and walk you through as many circumstances as possible about mediation so that you can better understand how to utilize mediation to your advantage and the advantage of your family.
What is mediation?
Mediation is the sort of step involved in a family law case that does not get much attention but is quite possibly the most effective, efficient, and important part of the entire process. I like to joke with clients that if we were only able to send people to mediation immediately after filing a divorce or child custody case that we could save everyone a lot of time and money. While that is not exactly what is done in these cases I can tell you that mediation is typically a part of a family law case before a temporary order hearing as well as before a trial. Here is what you need to know about mediation.
Mediation is the process whereby you and your attorney as well as your opposing party and their attorney agree to name a third party to intercede on your behalf to help you resolve the outstanding issues of your case. Most frequently this means using a mediator to help you bridge the gap on any issues you have not yet been able to settle between yourselves. You all would attend an in-person mediation session at the office of your mediator. These days some virtual mediations are possible, but it is my experience that in-person mediation just works better.
You and your attorney and your spouse and their attorney will be in separate offices at the mediator’s office. The mediator would then act like a ping pong ball bouncing back and forth in between your room in that of your opposing party. Settlement offers could be relayed regarding custody issues if you have children, child support, Community property if yours is a divorce case, and any number of subjects that need to be dealt with before a hearing or trial. If you have not been able to settle informally with your spouse or opposing party on a specific subject you bring that information to mediation and see if a mediator can help you bridge the gap.
The reality is that mediation is very successful at helping folks to avoid going to trials or hearings in family law cases. I would estimate that upwards of 90% of cases that attend mediation end up resolving most of their issues in mediation. Without a doubt, there is something about having an outside party be actively involved in the process with you along with the knowledge of a deadline to get a settlement is done that oftentimes spurs people into action. it’s amazing what a deadline and concerted action towards a shared goal can do for two people. This is true even for people who do not see eye to eye on much of anything related to their case.
The alternative to settling in mediation
if you are not able to settle your case in mediation and the alternative would be to attend a contested hearing or trial depending on what stage of your case you are in. There is nothing wrong with having to do this and you may find that this is a better venue depending upon the circumstances of your case. However, bear in mind that when you go into a courtroom a judge has the final say so in your case. Whereas, in mediation you and your opposing party do. If it’s up to me, I would trust myself and my opposing party to come up with a solution that works better for our family rather than relying upon a family court judge who has no specific knowledge of us at the beginning of a hearing or trial and it has barely more information than that even after the hearing or trial.
Another factor to consider as to an advantage of mediation over going to court is concerning money and time. Surely, money is not always the most important thing to a person in a divorce case. So often we focus on financial issues surrounding divorce, however. The cost of paying an attorney to represent you, issues surrounding making sure that your spouse he’s honest with you but financial issues inside the divorce, and many other factors related to money in your case. With that said when it comes down to it, finances are not the only important issue in the case but surely, they are one important issue. With that said, mediation can’t help you to decrease the costs of your divorce.
One thing that I think everyone going through a divorce can agree on is that they would like to limit the costs of their case. Nobody wants to spend more money than they absolutely must on a divorce. With all the changes that come with the divorce case most of us would rather spend our money elsewhere. This is also true of people going through child custody cases. If you have kids, you will much rather spend your money on your children than on anything associated with the divorce.
One of the realities of a divorce case is that a trial is expensive. Going to trial may be necessary but it is not what anyone would call expensive. Sending a day or two in court can end up costing more than the rest of your case combined. many times, the people going through a divorce will see the overall costs of their case increase dramatically just based on going to court for a trial. If you think it would be wise, as I do, to avoid these costs if possible then mediation is a great way to do so. Since mediation is so effective at helping people settle their cases it would make sense that this is probably the most effective way at what do you think the likelihood of a trial. If nothing else, it will reduce the number of issues that you have to set forth to the judge and therefore reduce the amount of time that you will be spending in court overall.
On top of that, we can also consider the time element of a divorce or child custody case. While money is certainly an important topic in any child custody or divorce trial at least with money you can always make more of it. Our world is well set up for you to be able to make more money for yourself and your family. It may be easier or more difficult for you to do so than other people but finding a way to supplement your income is not impossible.
On the other hand, there is no way to regain time lost. Sometimes it is necessary to go to a trial. By no means do I think that it is a waste of time to go to trial under any circumstances. However, all things being equal it will be great for you to be able to avoid a trial if a similar result can be obtained in mediation. There is nothing brave or noble about going to trial. Many people think that going to trial means that you are standing by your convictions and doing what you think is right. However, at the end of the day, this is only true if You could not obtain a fair result in mediation or Informal settlement negotiations.
the time that you commit to a trial could be spent preparing for your life after the family law case is over with. Additionally, you could be spending that time to help you and your child adjust to your new lives or to simply do something more productive than a 10-day trial. The trouble with deciding about whether it pays to go to trial is that you probably do not have the experience to have a well-formed opinion one way or the other. Therefore, it is so important to have an experienced family law attorney by her side throughout this process. An attorney can help you to determine which case has merit to go to trial in which does not.
Closing thoughts on the benefits of mediation in a family law case
The toughest part about talking about the benefits of mediation is that every person’s case is different. While it is true that most people, we’ll see benefits to their case by tending mediation this is not true for everyone. The subject matter of your specific case Will ultimately determine how effective mediation will be. The only real way for you to have any sense of how strong your case is or what sort of chance you must settle in mediation will be to hire an experienced family law attorney.
Another aspect of this discussion is regarding putting yourself in a position where you can have a reasonable discussion with your opposing party in hopes of settling your case. Many people that I have worked with over the years will shrug their shoulders and say that their opposing party is someone that they simply cannot work with on any level. What I would tell you about mediation is that this is a setting where even people who disagree on many ticks can come together to solve their problems in a comfortable environment.
I think part of the reason why mediation is so successful is that you do not have to directly speak to your spouse. Many people find that even a sideways glance or role of the eyes in conversing with their opposing party can be enough to ruin any opportunity at having a constructive conversation. The beauty of mediation is that this element of communication with your Co-parent or spouse is completely taken out of the equation. The mediator acts as the conduit for conversation between you and your spouse. You have all the benefits of having messages communicated to the other side without having to do the work yourself. This also removes some of the emotion and animosity between the two of you so that you are better able to think clearly and rationally about the problems that you have been encountering. Something as simple as this can be enough to push a case from extremely difficult to settle to one where a settlement is more likely than not.
The bottom line is that you can be confident of mediation in a sense that it almost certainly gives you a better chance to reach a fairer outcome in your family law case sooner than you would be able to have reached that outcome if you had to go all the way to a trial. Mediation is less stressful and less expensive than a trial or hearing. With that said, it is worth your while to speak to an experienced family law attorney to learn more about your case and how mediation can help you and your family.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the materials contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.