Houston Mediation Attorneys
Saving You Time, Stress & Money on Your Family Law Dispute
Divorce doesn't need to be an emotionally and financially exhausting process. Methods of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or collaborative law can help you save time, stress, and money on your divorce.
Our Houston ADR attorneys will work with you to find the best path forward in your divorce. Our team is capable of utilizing multiple kinds of ADR to help you with your case.
How Does Alternative Dispute Resolution Work?
Spouses can resolve their divorce in court or out of court.
Litigating divorces often costs a significant amount of time and resources. Many spouses also find the process incredibly stressful, particularly if they desire an amicable resolution with their soon-to-be-ex.
Instead of using litigation, couples can utilize a form of alternative dispute resolution to negotiate terms for their divorce (ADR) and reach an agreement outside the courtroom.
What Are the Benefits of Using ADR for Divorce?
Using a form of ADR to resolve your divorce can have the following benefits:
- It costs less. The average divorce in the U.S. costs around $15,000. Lawyers often charge significantly less for ADR services, and other factors we'll mention in a moment also serve to reduce the cost.
- It's faster. When couples focus on negotiation through ADR, they can often resolve their divorce much more quickly than if they litigated it in the courtroom.
- It's more amicable. Methods of ADR focus on helping parties negotiate and collaborate with each other to end their marriage, which frequently results in an amicable resolution that both parties are happy with.
- It's more private. Because ADR happens outside of the courtroom, it doesn't occur on public record - which can be particularly useful during high-profile divorces.
- You have more control. If you use ADR to dissolve your marriage, you have more direct control over the outcome than if you rely on a court to decide matters on your behalf.
Generally, ADR leads to more peaceful, mutually beneficial outcomes than litigating a divorce.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is perhaps the most popular form of ADR, and many courts require spouses to engage in mediation before allowing them to litigate their divorce in court.
In mediation, the parties, together with their attorneys, hire and work with a mediator who helps the parties reach an agreement to resolve some, or even all of the contested issues. The parties’ lawyers then take that agreement to use to craft a final decree of divorce that a court can sign to dissolve the marriage.
Mediators cannot provide legal advice to clients, but must act as a neutral facilitator. The parties rely on our lawyers to negotiate on their behalf and for legal counsel during the mediation process.
Mediation can occur over as little as a session, or take multiple sessions to resolve, depending on the case.
What Is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative law is another form of ADR.
To utilize the collaborative law process in Texas, both spouses must hire a collaborative law attorney. The parties, through their attorneys, then advise the court that they will be engaging in the collaborative process so that the court will not impose typical deadlines and set the case for trial. The parties and their attorneys then proceed to conduct a series of meetings and information exchanges to disclose finances and negotiate the terms for divorce.
Collaboration is said to offer couples a more deliberate form of negotiation than mediation and to be advantageous because it eliminates the mediator from the process. That may or may not be an advantage, however. Furthermore, there are disadvantages to collaborative divorce.
At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, we offer experienced collaborative process counsel and representation, but we want our clients to know that we can negotiate collaboratively and effectively without entering into the formal, time-consuming, potentially expensive and often one-sided collaborative process. The collaborative divorce process was designed with the best of intentions but sometimes results in one-sided agreements that are not fair to one of the parties due to personality differences that may be exploited or due to the lack of either a judge or mediator’s involvement.
You can rest assured that our attorneys will not allow you to be taken advantage of in a collaborative divorce. But you should know that abusive spouses, when they discover that they cannot pull the wool over your eyes in the collaborative process, sometimes simply refuse to settle, wasting your time and effort.
We want our clients to know from the start that if you retain one of our lawyers to represent you in formal collaborative divorce, should that process fail to achieve settlement, then the Texas Family Code requires that each party’s lawyer must withdraw from the case and each party must then hire a new attorney to litigate. For this reason, we offer formal collaborative divorce services—but only if you know the potential down-side.
Finally, a divorcing party engaging in a formal collaborative process should know that you do not need to provide a reason for withdrawing from the collaborative process. Our firm is happy to answer your questions about collaborative divorce.
What Is Arbitration?
Most arbitration takes place in the realm of commercial or business disputes, however, there are times when family businesses are governed by agreements that require the arbitration of disputes and all matters related to such disputes and that situation can cause parties to a divorce case to be compelled to arbitrate issues such as the valuation of business interests. It is also possible for the parties to agree to arbitrate appropriate issues such as property characterization, valuation and division with knowledgeable arbitrators experienced in such issues, particularly where the issues are highly complex and knowledgeable arbitrators can be chosen to hear them.
When spouses decide to use arbitration, they enter into an agreement to arbitrate and appoint one or more arbitrators to the case. They present their cases to that individual or arbitration panel. The arbiter hears the evidence and makes a judgment on divorce-related issues, enabling the parties to divorce privately without entering the courtroom.
At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, our Houston ADR attorneys have decades of experience helping clients mediate, collaborate, arbitrate, and in all situations, to negotiate effective, equitable divorce agreements.
A Team-Based Approach
When you hire one attorney at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, you receive the experience, knowledge and insight of our team.
Always Prepared for Trial
Our attorneys prepare for war so we can negotiate peace. We are not afraid to go to trial if it is in the client's best interest.
Each case is reviewed by our team to ensure we are crafting a case strategy that will help you achieve a satisfactory result.
We Put Clients First
At our firm, the client drives our goals. We put you and your needs first while focusing on providing a personalized approach for your unique case.
“They are extremely conscientious and smart and are excellent trial lawyers.”- Gina F.
“I would highly recommend HD&S to anyone needing family law representation in the Houston area.”- James M.
“HD&S gave me great advice, stayed on top of things, and explained everything very clearly to me.”- Chris G.