If you’re getting divorced in Texas, it is very likely that before going to final trial, the Judge would order you to attend mediation. The biggest benefit to mediation is conflict resolution outside a courtroom battle - ultimately putting the fate or outcome of the divorce settlement up to you and your spouse in lieu of a divorce judge in a context that’s much more relaxed and less confrontational. This is especially impactful if your divorce needs creative or unusual resolutions.
In this blog, we’ve outlined a few tips and recommendations to help you successfully prepare for your divorce mediation as well as explain elements that make-up for a successful divorce mediation. As with all types of divorce, the more prepared you are, the more productive your mediation will be.
Divorce mediation Tips.
Tip #1: Make a list and check it twice: Your attorney typically has an inventory form that you have to put together prior to mediation. Record all of your assets and debts, property (community property and separate property) and possessions and the values, including - but not limited to:
- Real property: House, rental properties, vacation homes
- Personal property: Furniture, jewelry, artwork, etc.
- Family business
- Vehicles: Car, motorcycles, private jet, etc
- Joint and separate bank accounts
- credit cards,
- retirement accounts,
- life insurance policies,
- stocks and other financial products.
Tip #2: Gather records:
- Income information: paystubs, self-employment profit and loss statements, pension disbursements, social security, alimony
- Expense information: ongoing liabilities, mortgage payments, car loans, health insurance costs, food, utilities, student loans, credit card payments, etc.
- Financial records: bank statements, documentation evidencing value of properties
Tip #3: Develop a budget: What does your budget look like now and what do you expect it to look like post-divorce? Having a clear understanding of your financial big picture will help you determine your goals and bottom line as you enter mediation negotiations.
Tip # 4: Organize your goals: With any negotiation – you’ll want to go into the meeting fully aware of what it is you’re willing to compromise on, let go and your ultimate bottom line.
Tip # 5: Settlement Negotiation between parties is acceptable, but be careful!: If you and your soon to be ex-spouse can respectfully communicate with one another – that is fantastic! If you and your soon to be ex-spouse have historically been unable to get along then be wary when discussing any legal matters outside of mediation. A divorce involves a lot of financial complexities and typically one person or the other (or both) want the bigger piece of the pie. Committing to plans or arrangements without knowing the big picture or without legal advisement can possibly do more harm than good. However, if you do have an agreement on your own, great! Go see your attorney as soon as possible to put them in binding and enforceable format.
Elements for a successful Divorce Mediation:
In order for mediation to work, you and your spouse should prepare to negotiate in good faith. Good faith meaning the information you provide and the information your spouse provides is accurate, complete and truthful to the best of your knowledge. If you have suspicions that your spouse is hiding assets or not being honest about their finances, then mediation may not yet be ripe.
IF you settle your case in a mediation, then remember that mediation settlement agreement is binding and irrevocable.
For favorable results in any divorce case, contested or uncontested, we highly recommend retaining an experienced Texas divorce attorney.
How Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey helps:
Based in Houston, Texas, the divorce attorneys at Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey stand ready to assist you in all your family law matters - whether through mediation, arbitration or a courtroom battle. If protecting your interests requires thorough financial analysis, accurate asset valuation, forensic accounting, or other specialized steps, your case will be in capable hands. Part of what makes us so qualified to handle complex property division and high-asset divorces is our skill-set in both business and family law.
Ready to discuss your divorce case? Call our Texas law firm at (713) 909-7323, or contact us online 24/7.