What do you need to know when you're faced with informal negotiation and or mediation in a family divorce proceeding in Texas.
Informal negotiation is great because it gives the parties an opportunity to work things out themselves, and when they have that opportunity and they can work things out themselves, sometimes, not always, but sometimes, it is a way to- like in monopoly when you get that go, that card that says advance directly to go, and collect your 200- that is that can be one of the benefits to informal negotiation.
Sometimes those negotiations can drag on and they become less effective over time, because parties are taking stances where they're being inflexible or perhaps they're being inflexible on some issues that are important to them. They also might be important to the other side, the other side might start being inflexible and all of a sudden you're not going anywhere, you've stalled, it's hit a plateau.
So mediation is court ordered, it is almost always, I have never had a family court judge say, "I won't order you to mediation," but the fact of the matter is that mediation is an extremely effective tool where the parties engage a third attorney, an expert in family law, property issues, parenting issues, to come up with a strategy to help them on the thorny issues that they can't budge on. ]
That's what's critical about mediation, it's one of the things that can occur in that 60-day cooling off period, besides that written discovery, which we touched on already. That's one of the things that's great about that 60-day cooling off period , is to afford the parties informal negotiation time. If that stalls mediation time, because it does in fact put folks in position to resolve a case, be in charge of the resolution, and also not waste tons of time and attorney's fees negotiating, you're like playing palm, you know? You're just constantly back and forth, spending five hundred dollars for a half day mediation or nine hundred dollars for a half day mediation, and now that doesn't include your own attorney's fees.
But that can be an extremely effective way to resolve the mediation and resolve through mediation all of the issues that cannot be resolved through just informal lawyer to lawyer or spouse to spouse negotiation. Because sometimes people get hung up on things like, you know- parenting plans that I want to have, you know- these nights because they work better for my work schedule, and the other parent says "no that's not good for the kids school schedule" and so we're gonna have this battle and instead of dying on that hill you know the parents can pay an experienced, usually somebody with 20 to 40 years of experience in Texas family law, to help them see around the corners, anticipate these problems, and resolve it, a whole lot more efficiently than just the constant back and forth negotiation between attorneys, which can stall out, and can be ineffective after a while. So this is one of the reasons why I always encourage mediation, andis why the courts almost always require it.
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