dispute resolution
A lawsuit can be lengthy and stressful for both parties involved in a dispute. It can also be very expensive and in many cases, it is a no-win situation. Recognizing this reality, the state of Texas has legislated Alternative Dispute Resolutions. Alternative Dispute Resolutions will give two parties a venue to settle their dispute without the hassle and cost of full litigation. The basis for Alternative Dispute Resolution is the Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1987. This act has made it public policy to pursue settlement before going to trial. There are different methods of resolve disputes under the law, as practiced in the district of Southern Texas: Early Neutral Evaluation Early Neutral Evaluation involves a private meeting of both parties and their attorneys along with a neutral third party.  The attorneys present their positions in the case and the third party gives a non-binding assessment with regards to the merits of both sides. In most of these meetings, the evaluator is usually in an attorney with expertise in the issue of dispute. The key here is that his evaluation is not binding, and oftentimes, he can also provide advice to both sides on how to proceed with their respective positions. In most early neutral evaluations, a settlement is not reached. Mediation Mediation is an informal, confidential session between both parties. This can be held prior or during the litigation proceeding. There will be a third party mediator agreed upon by both sides. Similar to the evaluator, the mediator can also point out the strengths and weaknesses of both parties. This can be done in front of both parties or even individually. As opposed to early neutral evaluation, the mediator will clearly seek to reach a settlement. Mini-Trial A mini-trial is court-based, and this time, the third party consists […]

Alternative Dispute Resolution in Texas

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Divorce can be a very long process and it is full of twists and turns.  It doesn’t help that there are a variety of different ways that you can go about the process.  One step that you might encounter in the process is mediation.  In today’s article, you will learn about the process of mediation in a divorce and what it is like. What is Divorce Mediation? In a divorce mediation, a third party is brought in to objectively help both sides of the divorce to reach a settlement.  This third party is a neutral person and is called a mediator. A mediator will work with both parties to come to an agreement in the following areas: Child Support Custody Visitation Alimony Division of Property Business Allocation What Does a Mediation Process Look Like? Each mediator will run the process slightly different.  Many mediators will want to meet with each party individually before the process begins.  This allows them to learn about the case and the party.  It helps the mediator to develop the background information they need to make the process fair. During the process the mediator will determine where you and the other party(s) agree and disagree.  Areas where you agree will be taken care of quickly while others might require documentation and negotiation.  The mediator will guide the parties through the negotiations.  Part of their job is to come up with unique resolutions to conflicts. When is Mediation Used? Mediation is used in most divorce cases to determine the division of physical and monetary assets along with custody of children.  In many counties in Texas you will be required to attempt mediation before you are allowed to take asset division to court. Travis County is an example of a county that requires mediation.  However, it only requires […]

Divorce And The Mediation Process

divorce mediator
A divorce is never easy. Most of the time it ends in a mess, especially if a problem caused it, which is the usual last straw in marriages. It becomes a heavy burden emotionally, and at the same time, financially, because both parties would need representation in a settlement case, most of which may include child support, custody and visitation, alimony, and property division. Luckily, Texas law encourages the use of “mediation” in cases such as divorce to help speed up the process, rather than take hours in front of a judge. There are a lot of mediators you could easily contact to help your case, but do you really know what you are supposed to be looking for in one? Brandon S. Peters, a renowned civil litigator, wrote a book entitled “How to Select the Best Mediator.” Here, he said that the success of the mediation comes with the choice of mediator, and he identified important elements to consider when selecting the right mediator for you.  First, the approach a mediator should choose to apply to your situation, and what you should expect from it. Peters highlighted three common approaches to mediation: Facilitative mediation is when the mediator facilitates the session, and assists carefully in the decision-making process of both parties, while remaining neutral. Such mediators should be an active listener and must have the ability to distinguish important issues that may arise. This approach is best used in situations that are highly emotional. Evaluative mediation is when the mediator influences certain negotiations that focus on monetary outcomes. Here, the mediator will be less mindful of individual interests, and more on the parties’ shared interests, such as reducing financial costs. This approach is best used when both parties are aware of all aspects revolving their case.  Transformative mediation is […]

How to Select the Best Divorce Mediator for Us?

Negotiating Your Divorce Settlement While Thinking About Taxes
Sooner or later in your divorce, you will have to consider negotiating a divorce settlement. When you do, you might find it helpful to make your negotiations with taxes in mind. When you are in the middle of an intense negotiation session regarding your divorce settlement, you might find yourself just wanting it all to be over. This kind of thought could be dangerous, especially when it’s strong enough for you to act on it. Agreeing to just anything for your divorce settlement just because you want it over as soon as possible could be something you’d regret for the rest of your life.   Of course having such thoughts, being under such stresses is understandable. However, when it comes to your divorce settlement negotiations, you have to be as serious as possible. You also have to tread carefully in this specific aspect of your divorce. One of the most important considerations you must have during your divorce settlement negotiations is about the changes in your taxes after your divorce. If you already have tax issues that are bothering you, you definitely should bring it up to the family law attorney who is assisting you.     Relevant Tax Issues During Your Divorce   When you are trying to come up with a divorce settlement that both parties will agree on, there are relevant tax issues that you should consider. You should consider such issues prior to signing your divorce settlement. Otherwise, correcting a wrong can cost you an arm and a leg if you do it after the divorce has already been finalized. When you have a family law attorney assisting you, he or she can advise you regarding tax matters. However, unless your attorney is a licensed CPA on the side, it’s better to hire another professional to […]

What are the Tax Ramifications of Your Divorce?

divorce and child custody mediation
Television and the media certainly do not depict divorce and child custody in a positive light. What we see on television and in movies are couples getting a divorce and eventually ending up intensely arguing in the courtroom. The couples getting a divorce are usually mean to each other and their lawyers are no matter. In TV shows, judges even fall asleep in open court if the ongoing trial is without drama. Mind you, this is not the case in real-life divorces. While it’s possible to be nasty to each other in and outside of the court throughout the entire divorce case, you will have more options than doing just that. In real life, couples undergoing a divorce realize quickly enough that the best way to resolve their issues is to be civil towards each other. Constant fighting is the worst way to resolve issues – most of the time, it does not solve anything. On the other hand, discussing pertinent issues with your spouse with hopes to reach an agreement have higher ‘success rates’ in terms of getting what you want and ending up with a divorce that is satisfactory for both parties. Not only that but going for this option will help you avoid having to appear in court. This commonly overlooked, but useful option is mediation. Important Things To Know About Mediation If you have read through some of our blog posts, you would have pretty much many ideas now about mediation. Mediation is simply put, a confidential session – which means that whatever you discussed during your mediation sessions will not be available at the District Clerk’s office. Mediation requires a third-party neutral intermediary who can assist both you and your spouse in resolving the issues that surround your divorce. The mediator will help you communicate […]

Preparing For Divorce Mediation