Friday, November 11, 2016

Things to think about BEFORE mediation

People often come to mediation unprepared.

It wastes time and money.

Here are some things to consider BEFORE you show up at mediation:

1.  What are the possible strengths of your case?

2. What are the possible weaknesses of your case?

Yes, all cases have strengths AND weaknesses.
Even the thinnest pancake has 2 sides.
No case is EVER a "slam-dunk".
There are always two sides to the story.

3. What has the judge done in the past in cases similar to yours?

Each case is unique -- but knowing how the judge has ruled in the past can be very helpful.

4. If you have a jury trial scheduled, how have juries in your county ruled in the past?

Remember - in family cases - juries are allowed BUT they do not make all the decisions.  The law in Texas still allows judges to have input in the final outcome of the case. Talk to your attorney about this and possible outcomes BEFORE showing up at mediation.

5. To settle the case NOW, what will you do to resolve the matter today?

6. What do you think the other side would say to question #5?

Crawl in the other party's head and try to assess their best and worst day in court.

7. What is your absoute worst deal that you would accept to settle this case NOW?

8. What do you think the other side would say to question #7?

9. What is the very best outcome you can expect if you go to trial?

10. What do you think the other side would say to question #8?

In family courts, judges tend not to give either party 100% of what they ask for. Most judges try to let both sides leave feeling that they "won" something.

For example, even in a really bad property division case, the judge rarely (if ever) gives 100-0 split.  Most like 50-50 or 45-55 or maybe (not very often) 60-40.  After 25 years, I've seen a few 90-10 but that normally only occurs when there is little community property and the 10% party has a huge separate property estate.

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