At McNamara Law Office, PLLC we offer mediation unlike that conducted by most lawyers. When spouses cannot agree how to divide their estate or what to do with children, we offer mediation before a divorce is filed without requiring each spouse to have a lawyer.
A Simpler Alternative to Typical Mediation
Mediations in Texas usually require each spouse have their own lawyer and each pay half the cost of the mediator. A mediator is a neutral person who helps facilitate agreement. But we offer a simpler option.
Pay for One Lawyer Not Two
When both spouses agree to the process, a lawyer may help as a mediator and not represent either. At McNamara Law Office, PLLC we work with the spouses to reach agreement without court and without the cost of two lawyers and a mediator.
A Collaborative Approach
Texas mediations are usually attended by both parties, two lawyers and a mediator and take about a day. It is usually conducted during litigation and after the lawyers have time to prepare, so a day is enough. The process employed by McNamara Law Office, PLLC involves aspects of collaborative law. We meet with the parties as often as necessary to reach agreement.
Moves at Your Pace
Sometimes, when people are closer to agreement than they realize, everything is resolved in one meeting. Other times, it takes several conferences, with material being acquired or considered between meetings. An initial meeting can plan the steps and determine what’s needed. The next meeting might be about specific items of property, debt, or the children. We work until it’s done.
Advice & Suggestions From a Family Law Attorney
We are neutral in mediation and offer advice about the law and suggest ways to resolve disagreements without taking sides. We put a spreadsheet of assets and debts on a large conference room screen so all can see various scenarios. We can also examine documents together, such as statements, bills, etc. As we work on the agreement, all see it so it’s understood and questions are answered. We also make memos of what’s needed for the next meeting and print or email them to each spouse.
The Initial Situation When Mediation Starts
Sometimes, the first meeting is to get the temporary situation under control and resolve where each will live, how bills will be paid, and when each parent will see the children.
Preparing for Mediation
At an initial consultation, the lawyer will outline what is necessary. Generally, gather all statements and books to show your complete financial picture, including recent W-2s, 1099s, retirement & financial statements, debts, real estate, business interests, investments, etc.
If children are involved, the lawyer will tell you what’s necessary after discussing the issues and options.
Finalizing the Divorce
As part of the agreement, the spouses decide who will file the divorce. If all agree, McNamara Law Office, PLLC will file and finalize it with a divorce decree that complies with the agreement. If a party reneges, or the agreement falls apart, a divorce already filed will be dismissed and each party must find a new lawyer. After meeting with both parties, McNamara Law Office, PLLC may not represent either. Assuming each party signs the agreed divorce decree, we can finalize it amicably and for less than two competing lawyers.
Is Mediation Right for You?
When the spouses agree to pre-suit mediation, we sign an agreement that McNamara Law Office represents neither spouse and will help mediate an agreement. To discover if mediation is appropriate, schedule a consultation. If both spouses attend, our lawyers cannot represent either of them if mediation is not chosen. If one attends alone, we can represent that person in a traditional divorce. We can still mediate when only one spouse attends the initial consultation. The initial conference will be disclosed to the other spouse before the mediation agreement is signed. If unsure, schedule a consult alone and discuss the options with one of our lawyers.
Pre-Suit Mediation Is Enforceable
In 2019 The Texas Supreme Court held that mediation before a divorce is filed is enforceable. A mediated settlement agreement under this process will comply with the supreme court’s requirements to make it binding, enforceable and irrevocable, simplifying a divorce.