League City Divorce Mediation Lawyer
When you divorce your spouse, your life can be turned upside down. Even as you mourn the loss of the relationship, you must figure out how to manage property, finances, and care for your children. In an ideal situation, you and your spouse will agree on everything when you separate. Life is rarely ideal, however.
Divorce mediation offers a middle ground between contesting your issues before a court and direct negotiation. The divorce lawyers at the Ramos Law Group have years of experience representing spouses in divorce mediation. Our founder, Mary E. Ramos, also mediates divorces. If you need a League City mediation attorney or divorce mediator, contact us to learn how the process would look in your unique circumstances.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution designed to help parties avoid the high costs and slow schedule of court. When you hire a divorce mediator, you and your partner present the issues you need help resolving to a neutral third party. Then, the mediator works with you to help you come to an agreement.
When May You and When Must You Attend Mediation?
Many couples choose to seek mediation before officially filing for divorce. Others may attend mediation after filing for divorce, sometimes of their own volition and sometimes on court order. Until a final court decree is issued, there is no wrong time to seek mediation.
You generally must attend mediation when a court orders you to. However, you can object if your spouse has subjected you or your children to family violence. Even if the court still requires you to attend mediation, you can request protective measures like avoiding face-to-face contact and being in separate rooms.
How Does Divorce Mediation Work?
While mediation sounds good in theory, understanding how it works is crucial to many couples’ decisions to pursue it. Mediation allows you to resolve issues in a structured, semi-formal setting, avoiding the rigidity of the courtroom and the unstructured potential of negotiation and renegotiation.
Before mediation, you and your spouse determine what issues you need help resolving. You will make a list of what to address and think through your ideal resolution. You also consult with your lawyer to plan how to approach mediation, set negotiation limits, and find areas of potential compromise. You also gather documentation of your assets and debts. You send many of the documents you prepare to the mediator and your spouse in advance of mediation.
Do your best to care for your health and well-being in the lead-up to mediation. Even though mediation is not as formal as court, it is understandably still stressful. Take as much time as you can to monitor your physical and mental health as you prepare.
You want to dress and present yourself well and bring important documents with you. Ultimately, the most important thing you can bring is a cooperative attitude. Sometimes, clients view mediation as an opportunity to make a point, but if you do, you miss out on the benefits mediation provides. Specifically, mediation offers you a chance to discuss and strategize with an unbiased third party who will often have unique perspectives to offer.
At mediation, your divorce mediator will lead a discussion between you and your spouse while your attorney provides support and legal advice. As a team, you talk through your discussion points. The mediator offers proposed solutions, which you and your spouse are free to take, reject, or counter. Your attorney can help you decide whether proposals are fair, identify trade-offs and concessions, and come up with alternative proposals.
Reaching the End
You may attend only one session or several over the course of a few weeks. In the end, your mediator will offer a final proposed resolution if you are able to reach one. If you are satisfied, you and your partner can make it a binding legal document if:
- You both sign it;
- Your attorneys sign it; and
- It clearly states it is not subject to revocation.
You are not bound to the agreement the mediator offers in other circumstances.
If mediation goes well, you submit your agreement to a court to request an official divorce decree. If some issues remain but you agree on others, you may go to court to resolve the remaining issues. If you did not reach any resolution and are not likely to, you need to litigate your divorce in court.
What Are the Benefits of Mediation?
Mediation can also help you maintain the peace, as much as practicable, in your relationship. Because mediation is focused on mutual resolution, you can avoid a lot of the hostility that can arise when you face your spouse as opposing parties in court.
Significantly, mediation also allows you more control over the final outcome of your case. When you go to court, you argue for what you want, your spouse argues for what they want, and then the judge decides how to resolve your issues. Unfortunately, that sometimes means both parties walk away unhappy. In mediation, you can continue to negotiate until you reach a solution you are comfortable with.
Should You Hire a Lawyer for Divorce Mediation?
You can represent yourself throughout the divorce process, including at divorce mediation. However, a lawyer with legal knowledge and experience negotiating is an invaluable resource. If you hire a League City divorce mediation lawyer from the Ramos Law Group, we can protect and fight for your interests the entire way. We can help you decide whether to attempt mediation, help you prepare for mediation if you pursue it, and sit by your side to support and advise you when it comes time.
Divorce is legally complicated on top of its heavy emotional toll. We understand how difficult the process is and take a compassionate, empowering, education-forward approach to family law. Contact us today to learn more about your options.