Austin Family Law Mediation Lawyer
Helping Couples Dissolves Their Marriages Peacefully
When most of us picture a divorce, we envision two estranged parties bitterly battling it out in court. At Agreed Divorces, we believe that not every divorce has to be a stressful, arduous affair.
When two parties disagree on how to dissolve a marriage, they engage in a contested divorce. Mediation can help you and your partner agree on how to proceed with your divorce, making the process less stressful, time-consuming, and expensive.
At Agreed Divorces, our Austin family law mediation attorneys support clients who want to use mediation to enable a peaceful divorce.
How Do I Know if Mediation Is Right for Me?
During mediation, you and your soon-to-be-ex work with a mediator to negotiate the terms for your divorce. It's important to note that the mediator cannot give legal advice to either party during the mediation process. Only a mediation lawyer (like one of our attorneys here at Agreed Divorce) can give you legal advice during mediation. Instead, the mediator helps the parties come to a compromise.
Our Austin mediation lawyers can help you protect your rights and safeguard your best interests during the mediation process. Alternatively, our lead attorney, Mr. Evans, is a certified mediator and can capably oversee the mediation process for your divorce.
Mediation might be the right choice if you:
- Want to avoid a court battle. Mediation enables you to determine the terms of your divorce out of court. If your mediation is successful, the court will only become involved to sign a decree finalizing your mediation and divorce. Many people find the thought of a court battle and its requisite elements (such as testifying) stressful, so resolving your divorce via mediation can make the process less emotionally draining. You also won't have to deal with scheduling court dates and interfacing with the court as often, which can make the divorce more streamlined.
- Want to make the divorce more cost-effective. If you resolve your divorce via mediation, you won't need to pay for court appearances, attorneys, or many other costs associated with divorce. Additionally, mediation fees for lawyers are typically lower than divorce fees since mediation is often less complicated to navigate.
- Are on good terms with your ex. Mediation is only truly successful when both parties are amicable with or, at the very least, respect one another. For example, if your case involves domestic violence or abuse, mediation probably isn't the right option for you. If one spouse tends to be manipulative or engage in power plays, mediation might be a risky choice. As mediation lawyers, we can help you protect your rights, but if the other party refuses to engage in good faith negotiations, going through the court may be more effective than attempting mediation.
One of our Austin mediation attorneys here at Agreed Divorces would be more than happy to help you decide whether to pursue mediation via a consultation.
Tips for a Successful Mediation
If you decide mediation is the best option for your divorce, you should begin preparing for the mediation process ahead of time. Gathering certain information and approaching mediation using the right mindset can be invaluable for securing a favorable outcome. Here are some of our best practices for engaging in mediation:
- Gather critical financial records (income statements, tax returns, proof of ownership for assets, debt statements, credit reports, etc.). During the mediation, both parties discuss how to divide assets and liabilities equitably. Taking stock of your assets and liabilities ahead of time can help you identify what you want, what you can live without, and, most importantly, what you need. Gathering proof of ownership for shared assets can also help you determine whether your partner is trying to hide any assets during the mediation process and take the appropriate measure to address those actions.
- Identify what an optimal mediation agreement would look like, and then compromise. At the outset, think about what a mediation agreement would look like for you in a perfect world. For example, maybe you get to keep the marital home and one of the family cars. Perhaps you get to have custody of the children 75% of the time. Once you identify the "ideal" arrangement, start thinking about how you can compromise. Maybe you get to keep the marital home, but only if you buy out your partner or keep the less valuable family car. Perhaps you shoot for 50% or 60% custody, not 75%. You won't get everything you want in mediation, but you shouldn't be afraid to shoot for your optimal agreement. If it doesn't work out, then you already have a compromise you can work towards as a fall-back plan.
- Aim for cooperation, not competition. Remember, the end goal of mediation is to resolve the divorce peacefully without relying on the court. Making mediation into a competition can turn it into an escalating battle that leaves both parties feeling frustrated and ends in the courtroom. You want to aim for a win-win negotiation where both people leave the mediation feeling satisfied, even if neither party gets everything they want.
- Think about how you can make propositions a win for the other party. If your partner has something to gain by accepting your terms, you stand a better chance of success. Put some serious time into considering the needs and wants of your soon-to-be-ex so you can appeal to their interests. Importantly, you should appeal to your partner in their language. Think about what they value, why they value it and then create an offer tailored to them.
- Don't give something up without getting something in return. Turning your mediation into a zero-sum game (where one party only wins and another only loses) can be a slippery slope. You shouldn't give up anything without gaining something in return, and you shouldn't expect your partner to, either.
- Think about the position behind the interest. People rarely give up the real reason behind a request. For example, let's say your partner wants to keep the family car. Why? Does it have sentimental value to them? Have they paid for a majority of the vehicle’s maintenance? Do they drive the car more? Once you figure out why your partner actually wants something, you can negotiate with them more effectively.
Ultimately, you should feel like the outcome of your mediation is better than the alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA). You should be confident that your mediated terms benefit you more than allowing the court to decide your divorce.
At Agreed Divorces, we provide both mediation and mediation attorney services. Whether you need a mediator to oversee the mediation process for you and your spouse or want to retain legal advice from a veteran mediation attorney, we're here to help.
- Fixed Pricing Starting at $2,500*
- Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
- Avoid Costly Litigation Expenses
- Achieve a Desired Outcome with Minimal Conflict
- Decades of Legal Experience
- Team Oriented and Collaborative Law Firm
- Attorney James Evans
Request Your Free Consultation
File Your Petition With the Court
Work Out the Details of Your Divorce
Draft Your Initial Divorce Decree
Review & Sign Final Documents
Finalize Your Agreed Divorce