Agree to Disagree: Mediation in Family Law
By: Calli Baldwin
Want to avoid turning your divorce into World War III? Mediation may be the solution.
Mediation is a semi-formal settlement process. It generally takes a half or full day. The parties use a neutral third party, usually another family lawyer, who meets with the parties and their attorneys to help work through their disputes so the parties can reach an agreement. If they succeed, they memorialize the agreement in writing, and upon signing, it is binding.
And the mediation process is confidential. Things that are said or offers that are made during mediation cannot be used in court, nor can the mediator be called as a witness. Everyone can work towards a settlement without concern that their discussions can be used against them later.
Often family court judges require mediation as a way to settle cases and avoid trial. In fact, many family courts require mediation in all cases prior to trial, so it is important to be familiar with the process.
Mediation can save time and money and allow more control over the outcome of a case. Parties are able to develop creative solutions that work for their families, solutions that may not be available to them by judicial order. It is important, as with any part of your family law case, that you work with your attorney in preparing your case for mediation.
Cindy Diggs, Board Certified in Family Law and Civil Trial Law, Holmes, Diggs, Eames & Sadler 5300 Memorial Drive, Suite 900, Houston, Texas 77007, 713.802.1777. www.holmesdiggs.com