What is mediation in divorce or custody case?
Mediation is a term/process that almost anyone who has had to deal with a legal case recently, specially a family law case dealing with a divorce or custody matter, have become familiar with. When a new client comes to my office or sets up a free zoom consultation or free phone consultation, the question arises, “What is mediation?”
What is mediation?
Mediation is a formal settlement process so that the parties can attempt to resolve the case without court intervention.
Who conducts mediation?
Mediation is conducted by a mediator, who is generally a former/retired judge or a current attorney. Both you and the other side (spouse or other parent in a family law case), along with your attorneys will also be present in mediation. Each side will be in a separate room and do not have to face each-other as the mediator goes back and forth to try to reach a resolution for the case.
Is mediation required?
Yes, in most courts, mediation is not required. You and your attorney can file a motion to waive mediation, but must show the judge good cause for waiving mediation; for example, if there is an emergency situation where time is of the essence or someone’s safety and well being may be in danger.
When is mediation conducted?
Mediation will be conducted at some point before a temporary orders hearing or final trial, or both.
Is a signed mediation agreement binding?
Yes, once you sign a mediated settlement agreement, often called a MSA, it is binding and cannot be changed, in most cases, even by a judge and/or agreement of both parties.
Am I required to come to an agreement in mediation?
No, while you are not required to come to an agreement in mediation, it is strongly recommended that you do everything you can to come to an agreement in mediation, with an agreement that you would be okay with. However, don’t feel forced to settle in mediation.
Why is settling in mediation beneficial?
Settling in mediation is often beneficial for both parties for several reasons, including but not limited to:
- You have more control over the outcome of your case and don’t have to deal with a possible shocking ruling/judgment from the court that may be unfavorable to you.
- You can save significant time and stress, as divorce and custody cases can often be emotionally and mentally draining and time consuming.
- You can save significant money on attorney’s fees you would spend in continuing to fight the case. Attorneys are not cheap. And other reasons…
If you are looking for a family law attorney, divorce lawyer, or custody lawyer feel free to call or email me, Amir Tavakkoli, Houston attorney from the A.T. Law Office. My office phone number is 832-800-5590 and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org. While we primarily practice in Harris and Montgomery County, we also travel to other counties such as Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Ford-Bend County, Waller County, Brazoria County, etc. Contact the A.T. Law Office by calling (832) 800-5590 to schedule a a free consultation by zoom, by phone, or in person.