Divorce Mediation in Austin, Texas
What about mediating my divorce case in Austin, Texas?
Most divorce cases at some point go to mediation. In Travis County, if your case will require longer than three hours at final trial, you are required to go to mediation before your final trial. The reality is that even in cases that will last three hours or less, the Courts want people to participate in mediation.
Mediation is a form of alternate dispute resolution; in other words mediation is a way to try to resolve your disputes without having to go before a Judge who would make the final decisions.
Unless the parties to a case have agreed to a resolution on their own, the parties and their attorneys will usually attend mediation with the mediator, who is an unbiased individual that neither represents you nor your spouse. Additionally, the mediator is not allowed to give either of you any legal advice. The job of the mediator is to see if they can work with the parties and resolve the issues in your case by getting both parties to agree to a Mediated Settlement Agreement.
The most important thing to understand about mediation is that the mediator does not make any final decisions. You, the client, have the final say and ability to settle in your case. If you do not agree with the terms, simply do not sign the Mediated Settlement Agreement. This puts the power in your hands. If after discussions with your attorney you believe that the proposed settlement is fair and just and in the best interest of your children then you can sign the agreement.
It is very important for you to understand that most Mediated Settlement Agreements are binding on both parties. This means once the agreement signed by the parties and the attorneys it is very difficult, if not impossible, to change. So you should only sign a Mediated Settlement Agreement if you are ready to live with its terms.
At the mediation, it is also important to understand that the mediation process is confidential. This means that offers made at mediation cannot be used in court. You are not allowed to testify at trial “at mediation she offered me X”. If you do, the other attorney will object the court will ignore that information.
Remember that at mediation, the mediator is not able to give you legal advice. It is important for you to attend with your own attorney who can give you legal advice and can help you make a smart educated decision. Remember if you do come to an agreement, this agreement will have an effect on you, your assets and debts and your children for years to come. It is important that you have the information you need to make the best possible decisions.
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