Mediation is very popular as a method for settling divorce cases rather than going to trial and it has many proponents. This is the selling point made by many attorneys who are lazy and inexperienced. Poor Reasons to Mediate Your Family Law Case are given below.
1. Your family law Judge requires mediation, but the judge requires it typically because that judge that is making you go to mediation is poor at calendaring and does not want to work. Mediation is a tool that both lawyers and judges use to get the parties together and talk. This is well enough, but the best time to negotiate is at the courthouse. I would say about 30 seconds before you see the judge. You may say, “What are you going to accomplish in 30 seconds,” Look more at the psychological effect of being in the courtroom and the preparation required for trial as the starting point. Most attorneys are friendly and talkative, but few try cases on a regular basis. Many cannot even ask a question without drawing objection. If your judge requires you to meditate, then go to a free service and attempt to impasse the case without pissing everyone off, so as to save your money for trial.
2.You retain control over the outcome, but do you? When the mediator and your lawyer are trying their best to get you to settle and you really need to hear it from Judge, is your money best spend elsewhere? Like for court time? If you had a deal and could work things out, first you would not be getting a divorce, second, if you could take the excitement of the divorce, you would be able to discuss it with your spouse alone and hammer out the details. You would not need two other professionals trying to convince you what Judge may do in your case.
3.Less costly than litigation
This is science fiction. A efficient attorney can spend your dollars on preparation of the inventory and your proposed property division, along with your proposal for the children issues. Mediation actually increases the costs of the lawsuit as you have to pay mediators fees and attorney fees for the mediation which can last from 4 hour to 8 hours. A typically mediation costs the parties about $4,000. This would be the mediators fee and the attorney time. A good attorney will prepare for mediation such as they were going to trial, thus skip the mediation and save at least $2,000 to use for presentation to Judge.
Divorce proceedings, including the record of testimony presented during the trial, are public record. That means that every bit of dirty laundry aired about you or your spouse during trial is available for public consumption. What is said in mediation is confidential; only the parties, their attorneys and the mediator will know what was said. But everyone knows you are getting divorced anyways. Are you moving in the middle of the night? Sometimes privacy issues are legitimate, I have had maybe 2 cases where the parties did not gossip. Everyone has a family law issue. Nowadays, most people do not care about your family law excitement because they have to deal with their own. Focus more on your interpersonal relationships with friends and family that both you and your spouse during the marriage either visited, vacationed, or communicated with on a regular basis. These people will already know what is going on. As you attempt to move forward and dissolve your marriage, maintain these relationships and do not complain about your spouse. Focus on the positive from the relationship and your desire to leave the marriage with peace.
Courts are burdened with huge case loads and judges can only hear so many cases a day. You may be scheduled for trial on a certain date but there is no guarantee you will actually be heard that day. Mediation allows for all the parties to agree on a date that fits their schedule and is not dictated by a busy court’s schedule. This is more science fiction. Most of the time, you can call the court coordinator the day before trial and get a date certain when judge will give you time. Mornings are always busy in family law courts. Afternoons are usually free. Most courts have a two week trial rotation and they will hear you within those two weeks, if not in the afternoon on your trial date.
For the reasons stated above, mediation is something I only participate when I am required. At my firm your dollars are spend to gain your results. Results being Judge time or a deal with your spouse in a time certain. Do not be sold on mediation as a tool that helps the parties reduce costs. If anything, it increase costs.
Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce and family law attorney who practices in Harris County Texas and the counties that surround Harris County, Texas. He has been in practice for over 11 years and has tried over 100 cases. He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris County Texas Divorce Courts. Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks. Please call with your family law or divorce questions for Divorce in Houston Texas.
Michael Busby Jr.
2909 Hillcroft Suite 350
Houston, Texas 77057
Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com