The general process for a contested divorce in Texas follows many different steps. One of the key aspects of a successfully contested divorce is negotiations by either party’s attorneys creating a plan that works out for both parties.
If negotiations are unsuccessful, one approach to coming to an agreement is mediation. Mediation is a process where a mediator familiar with family law helps the parties and their attorneys discuss the case and come to an agreement. In the cases where both parties cannot agree on decisions, most courts in Texas require mediation.
1. The Mediator is on My Side
It is important to keep in mind that a mediator is not an arbitrator. Both of these positions regularly get confused in the process. An arbitrator listens to both sides of a legal case outside of a courtroom and makes a binding decision.
This is not the case of a mediator, so trying to compel a mediator to lean toward your side of an argument with the hope that there will be a favorable result is wasted effort. A mediation process is essentially driven by the couple in question. The mediator is simply there to drive the couple to come to terms that they can both be comfortable with regarding their divorce negotiations.
2. You Must Convince The Other Side of Agreement, Not Your Mediator
Although the mediation is mainly about the couple working out their disagreements with each other. However, it may not always be possible to convince the other spouse to come to terms. Therefore, keep in mind that the mediator will listen to your argument and suggest which viewpoints are fair and realistic.
In some instances of “shuttle negotiations,” you may be negotiating directly with your mediator. With them serving as a middleman between you and your spouse, it is important that you refrain from arguing or taking out your emotions of the divorce on them. They are simply there to help you reconcile with their very valid opinion on your case. Therefore, convincing them of negotiations that are fair is an important aspect of creating a roadmap to a successful contested divorce.
3. Nothing I Tell the Mediator Will Be Heard By My Spouse
This is not true. Although most communication in the process is not able to be used as evidence in court (aside from items related to criminal acts), this doesn’t mean that it is open season to be frank and potentially harm your case.
Mediations are totally confidential (with certain criminal activity exceptions) which means the mediator can not discuss anything said outside of the session, but anything said during the session to the mediator may and could be shared with your spouse during the mediation unless you specifically instruct the mediator not to share a particular detail.
So if for any reason you feel you must tell the mediator something you do not want your spouse to know what you said, make absolutely certain you let that mediator know that he or she does not have the authority to repeat the information.
This is true especially in cases that involve child custody and child support. The wrong harsh statement can easily sway the pendulum out of your favor. You run the risk of making the divorce process and mediation process even more difficult by acting out and making settlement impossible.
4. There is No Need to Prepare
This is a huge mistake that couples make. Couples entering mediation should always be prepared. They should have complete comprehension of the case, what the issues are they cannot agree upon and have any further information that they would need to prepare for intense negotiations.
If Your Negotiations Are Difficult, Marx, Altman & Johnson can Help with Mediation
Don’t let your difficult negotiations put your divorce at a standstill. Reach out to the attorneys at Marx, Altman & Johnson to help you start the mediation process. We have experience in helping couples come to mediation agreements that everyone can be satisfied with. Contact us today to find out how to schedule a consultation.