While mediation can vary based on the parties involved and the kinds of issues discussed, there are some common elements you can learn about to help you prepare for what to expect. Unlike litigation, where an attorney speaks on your behalf to present a case to the judge, in mediation the neutral third party (the trained mediator) assists you doesn’t have the power to render a decision.
For the first meeting, you’ll likely meet with your Texas divorce mediator in his or her office or a specified neutral location. In the majority of cases, you and the other party will be put into separate rooms. In some cases, it may be effective to have you at the same table, but it is more common that you’ll reach an effective resolution in separate quarters. Part of the process of mediation is to make everyone feel comfortable, secure and safe. Many people prefer to be in separate rooms. After doing hundred of mediations, I find that each mediation is a little different. A mediator is to listen to the needs and wants of the parties and try to accommodate their needs and wants.
The mediator will then try to learn about each side’s case and the particulars that such an individual is interested in. This helps the mediator in understanding the crucial aspects to be discussed as well as the “starting point” for the mediation.
An experienced mediator will use your meeting(s) to help focus your negotiations and discussions. The mediator's role is helping parties work together towards a settlement. The parties determine the outcome - the mediator might offer suggestions or comments but the agreement is between the people. In order to reach compromise, the mediator may have to move back and forth between the rooms several times to reach compromise.
The goal of mediation and the end point once the mediator has stopped talking with both of you is a final agreement. This agreement will address the critical issues of the divorce like child custody, division of property, spousal support, and child support. When parties agree to the terms and sign it, they are enabled with the opportunity to move on with their lives without having to engage in the adversarial process of litigation.