Skilled Mediation Attorneys in Houston, Texas
At Stepp & Sullivan, P.C., our divorce mediation attorneys in Houston have been facilitating alternative resolutions for our clients since the mid-1990s, when our Texas laws began permitting judges to order family law clients to first try and negotiate their marriage dissolution outside the courtroom before their case can be heard inside of it.
Simply put, most family law judges will require mediation while refusing to grant a trial unless the parties have first attempted to resolve their legal and marital conflicts through the negotiation process.
Although mediation is not required by law, most judges will compel divorcing couples to resolve their case without the court’s intervention. Should one party refuse to mediate by the trial date — to avoid the divorce altogether — the judge will send both parties back to the drawing board by dismissing the case until mediation occurs.
This is a considerable waste of time and resources, which is why it is important to have an experienced family law attorney in Harris County by your side to help expedite the process and ensure your rights are protected through the proceedings.
How Does the Divorce Mediation Process Work in Texas?
While each mediation process is as unique as the couples who are participating in them, most family law mediation sessions follow the same format.
- Each party will be separated in a different room, with their attorneys by their sides
- The mediator will independently visit with each spouse, checking off their applicable divorce issues, which may include property division, spousal support, child custody and visitation, and child support, as an agreement is reached on each point
When the important issues are agreed upon through mediation, order or decree is written, signed by the parties, their attorneys, and the judge, completing their case and finalizing their divorce.
Mediation is a voluntary settlement process. It is not arbitration.
That means you nor your spouse can be forced to sign a mediation settlement agreement.
When the spouses cannot reach an agreement on certain issues — one, several, or none — the mediator will declare an impasse, and the case will proceed to trial.
The divorce details will then be litigated on each spouse’s behalf to sway the judge to rule in their favor. Once the arguments are submitted, the judge will rule on the case, and the paperwork will be finalized based on his or her decisions.
Why Do I Need a Mediation Attorney in Houston, Texas?
When spouses explore divorce mediation as a way of resolving the details of their dissolution, they are often confronting several parts of their marriage during the negotiations.
This means emotions may run high while being asked to negotiate the initial details of your divorce, like property division.
Certainly, when couples share children, negotiating the future of your kids — and where they will live, and who will be assigned visitation rights — things can become incredibly demonstrative.
Having an experienced Houston mediation attorney by your side can help keep the focus on the important points, so no detail is left to chance.
During these negotiations, the mediator may only present each side’s proposed arrangement.
He or she may NOT offer advice to either party on how to proceed with the presented offer.
That is why it is important to have an experienced Houston mediation attorney by your side, so your rights are protected and your best interests are at the forefront of each potential argument, which will allow you to pursue the best outcome available for your unique case.
At Stepp & Sullivan, P.C., our mediation lawyers in Houston will help you outline what you want out of your divorce, so you can concentrate on resolving the case quickly and effectively.
What Are the Benefits of Divorce and Family Law Mediation in Houston, Texas?
Mediation proceedings may seem confusing to divorcing couples, especially when their divorce is already a contentious scenario.
Some couples may think, “We are never going to be able to negotiate the details of our divorce. Why can’t we just go to court?”
Our divorce mediation attorneys in Houston understand that some couples believe it is a waste of time. However, there are many substantial benefits to pursuing divorce mediation solutions.
First, mediation is completely confidential. That means the details that you and your spouse agree to will stay between the two of you. This gives you both complete control over how your marriage is dissolved. Conversely, when your divorce case goes to trial, the judge can make all the decisions, even without knowing the nuances of your marriage and its impending divorce.
That often leads to rulings that one or both parties may deem unfair – simply because, although the person presiding over your divorce is a judge — he or she is a stranger who is ruling on your future.
Likewise, the mediator cannot be compelled to testify about what happened during your sessions, further protecting your privacy.
The judge can only be told that an agreement was reached and the terms of that agreement – or that the spouses tried negotiating the details of their divorce but failed, which is why they are now at trial.
Other significant benefits of divorce mediation proceedings are that the process is often less expensive than divorce litigation and is faster than handling your divorce inside the courtroom where hearing delays can extend the trial, arguments, and overall finalization for months.
In most cases, divorce mediation results in an agreement, which allows you to move forward with your new life with confidence, without dragging out the process. That could mean less stress and more clarity regarding your future as each decision is made.
Finally, an agreement signed at mediation legally binding. Either your lawyer or your spouse’s attorney will compose the agreement to accurately reflect the mediated details for each party’s final approval.
We will review the final document carefully with you, so you understand each detail and there is no confusion about your future.
If, after the agreement is circulated, and one side refuses to sign the decree, the law requires the judge to sign that order if it complies with the mediated settlement agreement.
How Can the Houston Mediation Attorneys at Stepp & Sullivan, P.C. Help Me Successfully Finalize My Divorce?
At Stepp & Sullivan, P.C., we have considerable experience assisting clients with cases involving mediation in Houston, Texas. During mediation, a neutral third-party mediator will work out agreements between the parties on a variety of issues, ranging from the division of assets to child custody terms, so each detail of your divorce is handled the first time around.
A divorce mediator in Houston, Texas does not represent either party involved and is simply a neutral, flexible, and confidential third party. The purpose of mediation is to minimize both time and expenses by settling your divorce early on.
It is our duty, as your Houston mediation lawyer, to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process, and that your best interests are presented — and thoroughly imposed — so together we are pursuing each detail you deserve from your divorce.
Contact Our Houston Mediation Lawyers Now
If you are considering a divorce in Texas, you must first try to resolve your dissolution through mediation. Before you do, contact our experienced mediation attorneys in Houston to understand each of your legal and personal options by calling (713) 336-7200 to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled mediation lawyers today.