A sense of losing control is common in the time leading up to and during a divorce. The last thing you want when you feel like your day-to-day life is changing more quickly than you can handle is to allow a third party into your affairs to make decisions for your family. For many couples pursuing a divorce in Houston, mediation is a beneficial alternative to having the courts decide what is best for them and their children.
What is Mediation?
During mediation, spouses seeking divorce and their lawyers meet with a mediator to discuss the issues at hand and come to a resolution that works for all parties. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that allows families to resolve legal matters privately. Mediation is also typically quicker and less expensive than litigation, which may take months or years to conclude, in addition to compiling exorbitant legal fees.
Mediation takes place outside the court. The parties may discuss issues in the presence of a mediator, who may be a lawyer or judge, in his or her office. Meeting with a mediator can help all parties avoid the complications and expenses of a trial.
Some of the issues mediation helps to resolve include:
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Property distribution
- Children’s enrollment in school
- Any disagreements regarding the medical treatment of children
- Post-judgment modifications
Mediation helps spouses and parents stay in control of their family’s business.
What to Expect During Divorce Mediation in Houston
In a mediation meeting, you can expect to meet with your spouse, their lawyer, your own lawyer, and a mediator who serves to lead the discussion of issues. The mediator will explain the process and any limits you or the court have set. The mediator will identify the issues and possible solutions to them.
You should expect to have an opportunity to explain what you think is the best solution for your case and why. You should also expect your spouse to be given the same opportunity and to listen to their reasoning. The mediator may then meet with each party individually or as a group. In cases involving domestic violence, the mediator must provide a safe environment for the victim. Ultimately, the goal of mediation is to arrive at solutions to the main issues of divorce that all parties can live with through compromise.
Top Benefits of Divorce Mediation in Houston
Mediation Can Preserve Relationships
When a couple mediates their issues rather than taking them to court, it can have a positive effect on their relationship, which has likely soured after the decision was made to pursue a divorce. Couples looking to divorce in Houston generally maintain a better relationship with each other if they go through mediation, which also benefits their children.
Mediation Keeps You in Control
Spouses looking to divorce in Houston feel better about making their own decisions, on their own schedules, regarding their divorce instead of having the court make decisions for them and their children. No matter how much information your lawyers present to the judge, a judge will not be as familiar with your family’s dynamics as you and your spouse. To maintain a sense of control over your immediate and long-term future, try mediation first.
Your Divorce Remains Private
Divorces that go through divorce court become part of the public record. This means that anyone who wishes to look them up may do so. On the other hand, a mediator’s files are confidential. A divorce that goes through mediation from start to finish may remain private.
No Single Spouse “Wins” in Mediation
Mediation allows both spouses to arrive at decisions together that will affect the rest of their lives. No single spouse “wins” a decision that’s favorable to themselves while hurting or placing the other spouse at a disadvantage. The solutions to the issues presented must be decided through a settlement that both parties accept.
Start Your Divorce with Mediation Today
Stepp & Sullivan, PC is a family law firm with more than 70 years of experience. We have helped countless couples seeking divorce navigate this emotional and challenging process. Mediation is just one of the options we offer couples looking to terminate their marriages. We are also confident about our abilities to successfully litigate your divorce in court if it becomes necessary.
Contact our firm for a free consultation to discuss your next step or call (713) 336-7200. You can count on our team of Houston divorce lawyers to protect your interests at this time.