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Mediation: a more amicable approach to divorce

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If you are a married Texas resident contemplating divorce, both you and your spouse, regardless of your issues and disagreements, no doubt dread the prospect of having to go through a lengthy, costly and possibly ugly court battle. You will be pleased and relieved to know that this is not necessary, and you have other divorce options open to you. Mediation is one of them.

As a matter of fact, most Texas courts will require you and your spouse to attempt mediation, especially if you have children, before you can go to court and obtain your divorce. While mediation does not work for all divorcing couples, it entails a much more amicable approach to divorce and costs substantially less than a litigated divorce. The American Bar Association says that a mediated divorce typically costs 40-60 percent less than a traditional divorce.

The mediation process

When you and your spouse decide to mediate, you hire a mediator, a highly trained neutral “referee” who represents neither of you. Instead, he or she acts as a facilitator for you and your spouse to negotiate and resolve your differences. After meeting with each of you separately and privately, the mediator then provides a neutral location for your negotiations to take place. In addition, he or she also ensures that each of you has ample opportunity to express your wishes, concerns and goals in a respectful, nonthreatening atmosphere that encourages you to cooperate, compromise and arrive at mutually agreeable decisions regarding such things as the following:

  • Child custody, support and visitation
  • Spousal support
  • Marital property division
  • Educational expenses if one or both of you needs to complete a college or post-graduate degree or enroll in a vocational training program so as to be able to obtain employment
  • Real estate matters, such as which of you will remain in the family home, who will make the mortgage payments, or if the house will be sold and the proceeds divided between you

In addition, if you own a family business that both of you participate in, you can negotiate all issues related to it.

Even though mediation takes place out of court, the agreements you and your spouse reach are legally binding and enforceable in court. Either or both of you can hire your own attorney and have him or her participate in your mediation sessions if you so choose. In any event, an attorney will need to draft your agreement document(s) since the mediator seldom, if ever, provides that service.

Additional mediation benefits

Not only does mediation save you substantial money, it gives you additional benefits as well. One of the most important is that mediation allows you and your spouse to maintain control over your own lives. You are the decision-makers, not a judge. Consequently, both of you likely will be far more satisfied with the agreements you reach together, even though each of you had to compromise.

Since the whole purpose of mediation is for you and your spouse to iron out your differences in a respectful, nonthreatening and cooperative manner, you likely will experience considerably less stress than you would if you were battling him or her in court. Also bear in mind that mediation is completely private. To paraphrase an old television commercial, what happens in mediation stays in mediation.

Possibly the biggest benefit of mediation is the effect it has on your children. When they see you and your spouse treating each other cooperatively and agreeably, it provides them with the best possible role models for conflict resolution in their own lives. It also gives them a more positive outlook on their future. Rather than being terrified that they are going to lose one parent or the other because of the upcoming divorce, and that they will have to “take sides,” your amicable mediation process reassures them that both of you still love them and will remain integral parts of their lives. Since they love both of you, this reassurance is crucial to preventing the anxiety, depression and other negative conditions children often develop when their parents divorce.

What Our Clients Say

Ms. Marvel has assisted me regarding child support issues for the last 3 years. She is very knowledgeable in child support issues in Texas and also across state lines such as California. She came highly recommended to me by a fellow attorney, the highest compliment she can receive in my opinion. She is professional, responsive and gets the job done. Her staff is very helpful, returns calls and Karen and her staff are responsive to issues that arise. I highly recommend Karen Marvel to anyone seeking a family law attorney in Texas.
Karen Marvel is an excellent family lawyer, who presented at a legal conference I attended. I learned valuable information and tools from her that I now use to help my own clients. After the conference, I’ve called on her a few times when I needed her expertise in child support matters, and she was always willing to help. She is extremely well-respected in our legal community, and I highly recommend her services.
I recently hired Megan to represent me in my divorce. She was very easy to work with, responsive, and efficient. I was extremely impressed with her timeliness and was overall very pleased with her work. I would recommend her if looking for a divorce attorney…
I was very pleased with Megan’s performance in court. She has been a blessing in our lives and single handedly changed our lives for the better . It was a very difficult case on my end and was brilliant with negotiations with OAG. I will always be grateful to Megan and wish the best of luck in future cases…
When I needed a lawyer I asked my coworkers for their recommendations. Three of my coworkers recommended Brandon Wong and they were very satisfied with his services. I contacted Brandon and he handled my divorce in a timely and efficient manner…
I have felt so important to Brandon since the day we first met. I had a million questions and worries, Brandon made me feel informed of all possibilities and confident in him.
Meeting you and having your professional and emotional help during the process of my divorce has definitely been invaluable. In the professional aspect, you are not only a brilliant attorney but you are reasonable, just, and fair. During the process of my divorce I found myself completely…
Brandon represented me in a child custody matter. He is professional, educated, informative and provided his services in an economical manner. He worked to obtain a settlement outside of the courtroom. When the case required a visit to court, his experience guided me through smoothly and ultimately delivered the decision in my favor…
Please don’t hesitate to hire Brandon Wong. He genuinely cares about his clients. He protects his clients, he returns calls and e-mails, which is critical when you are in a situation where you need an attorney…
I would recommend Mr. Wong for his professional services. He was very attentive to my case, returning phone calls and emails before the end of every business day…
Brandon handled my divorce in a first class manner. He was always available to talk when I had questions or needed advice. He was a relentless lawyer and ensured that the settlement was fair and just…
I highly recommend Mr. Wong if you are looking for an honest and hardworking attorney who is more interested in properly representing his clients than making a quick dollar…
We received excellent legal help from Brandon Wong. Our family had a custody issue that had us spinning our wheels for a year due to the complexity. Brandon handled our case quickly and with heart. We felt genuinely cared for during the entire process and will continue to recommend him to anyone who needs legal help…
Brandon handled my divorce and made it easier than I could have imagined. He took care of everything, totally minimized the stress on me, and was extremely professional while remaining very approachable and compassionate…
Hired Mr. Wong to represent me on a child-support arrears enforcement case. Dad was ordered to pay child-support in 1991, and up until my daughter turned 18 years of age…

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