Family Mediation

me·di·a·tion

/ˌmēdēˈāSH(ə)n/

1.     intervention in a dispute in order to resolve it; arbitration.

2.     intervention in a process or relationship; intercession.

Wikipedia states “Mediation is a dynamic, structured, interactive process where an impartial third party assists disputing parties in resolving conflict through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques. All participants in mediation are encouraged to actively participate in the process.”

No matter how you define it, mediation boils down to a process wherein two parties who have a dispute go to a meeting that is facilitated by a third party who helps the two parties try to find a solution, middle ground, or finality to the conflict.  In a divorce mediation is used to help the spouses divide the property so that each gets to assign intrinsic values and get most of the property he or she wants.  In a custody case, it allows the parents to decide what time he or she gets to spend with the children and the terms that are best for everyone concerned.  To paraphrase a Judge in Collin County – smart parents know thier kids and will not ask a Judge who has never met the child to decide what to do.”

Mediation is a process to resolve family conflict.

Mediation allows the parties with the real interest in the outcome of the dispute to find a solution that everyone can live with, before the Judge and the law decide.

You can divorce without an attorney

It is not uncommon for a party to a marriage to try to handle the divorce pro se and it is your right to do so.  I would caution that a 5’10” average joe has the right to play a game of 1 on 1 against a professional NBA player too, as long as the average Joe knows he is going to loose when facing a professional.  It is the same in a courtroom, a pro se litigant has the right to represent himself or herself but if the other side has a lawyer, the pro se is playing a game against a professional.  And it often surprises litigants to learn the Judge will not help them.

Judges only hear “Admissible Evidence”

One of the most common statements I hear from litigants that tried to represent themselves first is “The Judge would not listen to me!”  That is because the Judge is prohibited from assisting the litigants and the person representing himself did not understand the rules of evidence.  The rule of law has controls, certain things are not evidence and while others may be evidence, it must be presented in an admissible form.  Case in point, a lady records her husband admitting to infidelity.  She wants to present this recording in court and brings her phone with her to play the recording for the Judge.  The Judge refuses to listen to the recording.  She then tries to hand the Judge her phone, and he refuses to take it.  She is not frustrated and thinks the Judge is ignoring her evidence, when in fact she has not presented it in an admissible form.  It is evidence, it is excellent evidence in fact, but the Judge cannot listen to the phone or take the phone because the phone would then be the physical evidence in the record.  The Judge does not want to take the phone from the lady because if he does, he must keep it.   One way to make this recording “admissible” is to transfer it to a CD or thumb drive.  Then prove the recording on the CD or thumb drive is a true and correct unedited copy and the Judge will listen  to it.

Mediators are not acting as Judges, they are acting as a Referee

That statement is  little overly simplistic but the point is that a mediator does not make you bring “Admissible evidence” because a mediator is not judging the case.  You assert you have evidence and the mediator accepts the assertion.  He or she may ask to see or hear the evidence but whether or not it is in an admissible form is not an issue  Mediators do not take evidence.  A mediator’s job is to get both sides to see the weakness in his or her case and the strengths in the other party’s case so that both sides are encouraged to consider the possibility of loosing in front of a Judge.

Tell your side of the story.

One of the biggest advantages to mediation is the ability to tell your side of the story in your own words.  In Court, the Attorney will guide the testimony to convey the facts that are necessary to present the evidence.  However in mediation, the litigant gets to talk and tell his or her version of the facts in his or her own words.

Call today to schedule mediation of your family law issues with an experienced family law attorney in McKinney, Texas by calling 972-596-4000 or send an email to [email protected]

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