Divorce Mediation Lawyers in League City
We know divorce can be a tough thing to go through, and the more issues that are subject to settlement, the more painstaking the process can be. Mediation can be a valuable way to work out all the difficult issues that must be settled in a divorce, from child custody to visitation to property division and more.
Mediation is one of the two primary methods of alternative dispute resolution. Mediation services, along with arbitration, serve as alternatives for couples who want to avoid a courtroom battle. But there are important distinctions between mediation and arbitration.
Mediation vs. Arbitration
The mediation process, summed up simply, is when you and your spouse seek to reach an agreement with the assistance of a neutral third party–the mediator. The mediator does not have the power to make any decisions about the settlement. They are there to help with the negotiations. The mediator is trained in the art of facilitating compromise. A good mediator really listens to both sides and understands what each side wants.
The hope is that, as a neutral third party, a mediator might be able to think of a creative solution that has eluded the spouses. However, spouses may not be able to reach an agreement, even with third-party help.
An arbitration hearing starts with the same premise–a third-party, hearing out each side. But the arbitrator has something the mediator does not–-authority. The arbitrator will make a decision in the same manner a judge would. Of course, a notable difference is that the spouses may mutually agree on which arbitrator will hear their case. That same flexibility does not exist when it comes to what judge will preside.
It’s possible, depending on the specifics of the arbitration agreement, that the dissatisfied party might still be able to refuse and take it to court. However, that’s an option that comes with financial costs and may not result in a better outcome.
Therefore, control and confrontation are at the heart of the differences between arbitration and mediation. With mediation, the spouses retain control. In arbitration, they surrender it to a third party. Mediation is designed to minimize confrontation. Arbitration, while providing some level of privacy to the parties, may not help the parties avoid conflict.
Benefits of Mediation
There are several benefits to using mediation as the means to obtain your divorce settlement. Those benefits include privacy and potentially less hostility with your spouse.
Privacy: Court proceedings are a matter of public record. Everything entered into the record will become a part of the public sphere. Let’s say the reason for the divorce is that your spouse was unfaithful to you. You’re justifiably angry. You might not even be all that disturbed by the world knowing about their infidelity, except you have four kids together, ages 14 and younger.
The kids still have a good relationship with your soon-to-be ex and there’s no getting around the fact that your ex is going to be in their lives (and therefore yours as well). It won’t help anything if details of infidelity makes its way into any kind of public record. In a mediation session, you can air all this dirty laundry with the security of knowing it isn’t leaving the room.
Privacy also applies to your financial dealings. Perhaps you have a complex settlement to work out, with everything from a small business to an extensive stock portfolio. Getting all this valued may be an integral part of getting a fair settlement. You may not want all this financial detail in the public square if it doesn’t need to be there.
Reduced Hostilities: Our example above presumed parents with four children, where everyone is going to be seeing each other on a regular basis. Regardless of the reasons for the divorce, a hostile relationship between parents is going to be hard on everyone. The mediation session is a good opportunity for you and your spouse to set the tone for your post-divorce relationship and do it in a positive way.
Even if you won’t be seeing your ex at all after the legal proceedings are done, there are still very real benefits to working together on a settlement. It’s easier to begin a new chapter of your life when the old one has been closed in the healthiest way possible. That means civil negotiations facilitated by a mediator and a settlement where both sides come out as reasonably content as possible.
Privacy and reduced hostility aren’t the only benefits that come from mediation. It’s also highly likely–though not guaranteed–that the mediation process will see significant cost savings over a court case. Depending on the circumstances, mediations could be settled in as quickly as one day.
Do you want to give mediation a chance to settle your divorce? Call Hunt Law Firm at (832) 781-0320 or contact us online today.
Who Can Benefit from Mediation?
The couples that can benefit from mediation are ones where both parties are committed to securing a fair settlement and neither one is going “scorched earth,” in an effort to take as much as they can from the other.
These mediation-friendly couples still have a basic ability to be reasonable and want each party to simply move on with their lives. They might need some help from an outside party, but they can still work towards a reasonable settlement.
The above description doesn’t fit everyone, but it fits quite a few couples going through a divorce. The mediation process is so often helpful that most courts in our area require parties to attend mediation both before a Temporary Orders hearing and before a final trial. A couple that starts mediation before the judge requires it can save both time and money.
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