Frequently asked questions
What does a family mediator do?
We help people resolve disagreements about marriage, separation, divorce, parenting schedules, child support, property division, elder care, distribution of inherited property, and other family matters.
How does mediation work?
The neutral mediator, in a confidential setting, helps each party communicate what is important to them and to hear what is important to the other party. With help from the mediator,
• identify the issues that need to be resolved;
• prioritize the issues and focus on one at a time;
• discuss possible solutions;
• come to agreement about all or some of the issues;
• have a draft prepared of their emerging agreement; and
• review, revise, and prepare their agreement for signing.
When is the best time to start mediation?
As soon as the parties agree to try to resolve their differences outside of court. It is best to try mediation before the litigation process creates too much mistrust between the parties and if possible before expensive discovery processes are initiated. Mediation early on can save the parties time and minimize long-term distress.
Where are you located?
Texas. Our office is mobile, we come to where you need us. If attending in person isn’t
convenient, we offer confidential live web-based video conferencing services.
How much does mediation cost?
The cost of mediation is typically shared between the parties. The fee for a full day (8 hrs.) session is $520 per party. Additional fees for travel greater than 100 miles may apply.
How many sessions of mediation are needed?
The answer varies with the number of issues to be resolved, their complexity, and the
degree of conflict between the parties. In addition, the ability and willingness of the
parties to negotiate with trust and cooperate without strong emotions overwhelming the
process is a time factor. A typical family case may take anywhere from 6 to 8 hours,
possibly more. Mediating single elder issues or parenting plans alone may take as few
as 4 hours.
What are the advantages of mediation?
• You will make the decisions. You and the individuals involved, are the ones who
know your family best. You don’t leave it to a stranger in a courtroom to tell you
how your family will work.
•Mediation can be less expensive and stressful than arguing in court.
• Mediation can be faster than working your way through the many complex steps
Will you help me with legal questions?
No. We can give you information about where to locate state laws and local court procedures and can tell you about other resources available, but we do not give legal advice. That is, we do not interpret statutes, advise about or recommend any specific legal action that would benefit either party.
Will you help me file legal documents?
No, we do not assist you with filing legal documents. We will act as a scribe to help you document the issues you and the other party agree on and can provide you with some information about where to locate procedures for filing the document with the court system.
If I already have an attorney, is it too late to try mediation?
No, it isn’t too late. Mediation is still available. You can keep or hire an attorney to give you legal advice, do some of the negotiation work yourself or with your attorney and the mediator. You can even retain an attorney to represent you in court and still do some or all of the negotiating yourself, with help from a mediator. Many attorneys are happy to have their clients work with mediators to resolve most or all of the issues outside of court.
What if there has been a history of violence or drug abuse in the family?
A mediator will assess whether mediation can be safe and effective after understanding the nature, frequency, and intensity of prior incidents or allegations of violence or abuse. If safety can be assured and each party is able to understand the implications of decisions being considered, then mediation may still proceed successfully.
Will you come to an assisted living facility?
Absolutely. Our mobile office serves families residing in Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Caldwell counties. And, if you don’t want to attend a session in person, we offer confidential web-based video conferencing services.
If one of us is skeptical, should we try mediation anyway?
Yes. You may be able to reach agreement on some of the issues, even if you cannot resolve all of them through facilitated discussions; in such cases, you can document a “Partial Agreement”. You will still save time and money, and you may avoid unnecessary stress.
What if the other party is completely irrational and seems to be unmovable?
Mediators are trained to find ways to help the parties move forward, even though they might appear to be at an impasse. For most people, face-to-face meetings are most efficient and effective, but for some clients, separate meetings (caucusing) or web-based video conferencing works better. In such situations, the mediator meets with each party separately, asks questions, and carries relevant information and proposals back and forth between the parties.
Is divorce mediation always successful?
Mediation is most successful when all parties are willing to participate. While no method of conflict resolution is always successful, the rates of success for mediation are sometimes better than those for litigation. This is partly because in mediation both parties have input to the solution, whereas in litigation sometimes one party “wins” more than the other. Success in mediation does require that both parties negotiate willingly and want to resolve matters.
For example, if one party would rather spend time and money publicly punishing the other party, then mediation may not succeed. If the parties have unrealistic expectations and each is convinced that the judge will see everything as that party sees it, perhaps they may both need to experience one or two court hearings before they are ready to negotiate in earnest. Mediation allows you to maintain control over the process.