During divorce, many couples have issues about who will live in the home and pay the bills while the divorce is pending. Courts can issue Temporary Orders that address these issues. However, before holding a hearing, the court issues a Standing Order to both spouses to attend mediation and attempt to resolve disputed issues there.
What is mediation?
During mediation, you, your lawyer, your spouse and your spouse’s lawyer meet with a mediator, who is an neutral person trained to help you resolve disputed issues. The mediator has no previous knowledge about your case and doesn’t know you or your spouse. The goal is to reach an agreement on the issues being addressed. The mediator may meet with you separately or together during the mediation process.
What happens if we reach an agreement in mediation?
If you reach an agreement, the details are written down and both of you sign it. The legal name is a “Mediated Settlement Agreement.”
What if I change my mind after mediation?
Once both parties and their attorneys sign the Mediated Settlement Agreement, the agreement is binding and may not be revoked.
Do I have to sign a Mediated Settlement Agreement at mediation?
No. Signing of a Mediated Settlement Agreement is completely voluntary. You are not required to settle at mediation, but mediation is, by and large, successful in resolving existing disputes because it gives you the control in deciding what happens in your case, rather than relinquishing that control to a judge who doesn’t know you, your spouse or your children.
Where does mediation take place?
Frequently, mediation takes place at the Brazos Valley Dispute Resolution Center (BVDRC), located on Texas Avenue in Bryan. The mediators at the BVDRC are trained volunteers and the BVDRC fees are nominal ($175 for ½ day mediation per side).
What happens if my spouse and I do not reach an agreement at mediation?
The court clerk will schedule a “hearing.” During hearings, judges consider evidence and decide the unresolved issues. Judges hear testimony from witnesses when the party calls the witness to testify. If your side calls the witness, you conduct direct examination of the witness first. If the other side calls the witness, you conduct cross-examination of the witness after they conduct their direct examination. The questioning goes back and forth until neither side has any more questions of the witness.
Can I tell the judge what a jerk my spouse was at mediation if he/she won’t agree?
No. Everything at mediation is absolutely confidential and may not be discussed in court, nor may the mediator be called to testify as to what happened there.