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Texas divorce mediation can be both cost effective and expeditious

Divorce can be hard on both the divorcing parties' emotions and their wallets. For those in Williamson County, there is an alternative to traditional divorce litigation which may ease the emotional strain of a divorce and can be more cost effective in comparison to the traditional divorce process. That alternative is mediation. The Texas Bar Association defines mediation as a common dispute resolution method used to facilitate the reaching of an out of court settlement between two parties.

Over the years, mediation has been used increasingly in divorce and custody matters since it permits the parties to make final decisions instead of leaving decisions up to the Texas courts. In a case decided last year, In re Stephanie Lee, the Supreme Court of Texas made it abundantly clear that it strongly favors encouraging mediation instead of litigation when it comes to family law matters such as those pertaining to child custody issues.

There are various benefits to mediation over traditional divorce. First, mediation can avoid a bitter contentious court room battle thereby promoting post-divorce harmony between the parties. Second, mediation may make a divorce easier on children produced by the marriage. Children often suffer emotionally as the result of a contentious divorce. Third, mediation may expedite a settlement agreement which is preferable to protracted litigation. Fourth, mediation enables the parties to make the final decisions as to property and custody issues rather than leaving them up to a court. Finally, mediation is praised for its cost effectiveness given that the cost of mediation is considerably less than the cost of traditional divorce litigation.

The process

The actual mediator's role is to be neutral and not represent either party to the divorce. Mediators are not allowed to give legal advice to either party. Instead, the mediator's job is to encourage the parties to reach an agreement by helping them talk through options, think about the strengths and weaknesses of both parties' cases, costs of litigation, benefits of settlement, etc. Some mediators are more active in the process than others depending on their personalities. Mediation is not required to produce an agreement. Indeed, in some instances, the parties simply cannot reach an agreement with each other. In that event, traditional divorce litigation is the only realistic option. If an agreement is reached during mediation, the parties will sign a binding written contract that will be enforceable in the Texas courts.

It is a good idea for the divorcing parties to each have their own attorneys who will be present during the actual mediation. This ensures that the parties' respective interests will be protected during the process as they will have legal advice provided on every offer and option discussed. According to the American Bar Association, the attorneys for the parties play a critical role in the process. Before mediation begins, an attorney has the duty of adequately preparing the client for the mediation negotiations. The attorney does this by thoroughly explaining to the client how the mediation process works, what the negotiation strategy should be and what he or she can expect during the negotiations. Good preparation and communication makes the attorney and the client a "team" and helps alleviate any anxiety that there may be about the mediation process.

Seeking advice

If you are considering a divorce and wonder if mediation is right for you, you should contact an attorney experienced at handling family law matters. The attorney will sit down with you, answer any questions you may have about mediation, and discuss whether or not mediation is advisable for you given your particular situation.

Clients say : "She was always realistic and positive about the case; the end result was very close to what was anticipated. Lori Watson truly cared about my case and its equitable resolution. Communication with her was effortless and personable, her responses timely and pertinent. I would confidently recommend the services of Lori Watson to not only my closest friends, but family members included."

Clients say : " I first approached Lori Watson to handle my divorce two years ago. In the initial consultation I was put at ease by her objectivity and insightful nature and knew I would be well represented. Early on she assessed what was becoming a dangerous situation and placed well thought out procedures in place that were intended to protect but at the same time not provoke unwanted actions."

Clients say : " I am the single mother of a 5 year old child. Our situation is somewhat complicated because my daughter’s father and I were never married and he lives out of state. My daughter has never lived with her father which has made it difficult for the two of them to form a strong parent/child relationship. I had an attorney, whom at the time was not practicing family law." read more >>

Clients say : " I hired Ms. Watson to help me get through probably one of the most difficult times of my life, my divorce and custody battle for my children. Throughout the long-drawn out battle, Lori was very professional, empathetic to my situation, but more importantly was always there by my side." read more >>

Clients say : " Lori handled my complicated divorce with an estranged wife and children with psychological issues. Lori quickly grasped what the main issue would be in a long term contested divorce and formulated a strategy to address it." read more >>

Clients say : " Many have encountered stereotypical lawyers that tend to give attorneys a negative image. Lori Watson does not fit that stereotype and takes a fresh approach to practicing family law. As one who is in need of a family lawyer knows, it is usually a very difficult time in life with many stressors and heightened emotions. My situation was especially trying and lasted nearly a year." read more >>

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Law Office of Lori Watson
804 S Main St
Georgetown, TX 78626

Phone: 512-931-2121
Fax: 512-930-0502

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