Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fran Brochstein's Mediation Checklist


Attorney at Law & Mediator

8978 Kirby Drive                                                                                                 (713) 847-6000
Houston, TX 77054                                                                                               FAX (832) 415-0139

                                                                                                                                                  Fran’s personal cell phone 713-805-9591


Generic Checklist and/or Suggestions to make mediation more efficient:

  1. It is encouraged that you determine where the mediation is going to be held BEFORE the date of the mediation.  It is across the freeway from Reliant Stadium at Loop 610.  The building is a 2-story brown office building.  If you reach the “West Bellfort intersection you have gone too far.  We are located directly across the street from the vacant lot formerly known as Astroworld.  The law office is at the end of the building on the 1st floor.  There is a large white “Attorney” sign on the building by our front door.   Above the glass door appears “8978” and beside it appears “Bushman Law Office” and "Fran Brochstein, LLC".  Parking is free.

  1. Before mediation begins, both parties must sign the paperwork to agree to mediate and pay the $250 fee by cash, money order or attorney check.  Personal checks, debit cards, and credit cards are NOT accepted.  There is NO ATM in our building.  The closest ATM is located at Loop 610 and Buffalo Speedway.  If you refuse to sign the paperwork, then the mediation cannot go forward and this will be reported to the Judge. 

  1. Mediation begins promptly at the appointment time.  Please arrive on time. 

  1. We do not provide babysitting services.  Please arrange to have child care for your children.

  1. Please do not bring any friends or relatives with you to mediation without prior approval by the mediator and all attorneys.  Spouses are usually allowed – fianc├ęs should not attend the mediation. Do not have anyone contact the mediator on your behalf.

  1. After the initial 4-hour mediation session, the mediator’s rate is $62.50 per hour per party, payable (in cash) at the time of the mediation.  It is suggested that you bring at least $600 cash in small bills with you to mediation.  Do not expect the mediator to be able to make change.  Attorney checks are also accepted.

  1. Please anticipate remaining at mediation for 4-6 hours.  FYI:  My longest ½ day mediation went over 11 hours so please plan accordingly.  If we are making progress and everyone agrees to stay, I prefer to keep working toward resolution. 

  1. If you think you might need something, bring it with you and leave it in your vehicle.  This might include:
a.    All paperwork to determine income – such as pay stubs & tax returns for the past 2 years.
b.    All paperwork concerning community assets such as current house note, down payment, equity, current loan value, value of retirement plan at marriage and now, etc.
c.     All paperwork concerning the community liabilities
                                               i.     (such as credit card debts), etc.
d.    All paperwork concerning separate property assets and liabilities.
e.    All insurance paperwork – health, life, vehicle, homeowners, etc.
f.      Photos, emails, etc.

  1. If custody is an issue, be prepared to discuss why you should have custody and why the other parent should not have custody.  

  1. If children are involved, bring a photo of the children to mediation.

  1. A brief outline of all issues of the case and your proposed settlement offer to resolve this case.

  1. All necessary medications – such as high blood pressure mediation, asthma medication, diabetic supplies, etc. 

  1. You are not allowed to roam around the office or “peek” into other rooms.

  1. Bottled water, soft drinks and light snacks are provided.  Please feel free to bring your favorite snack, candy, gum or soft drinks. If you smoke, bring cigarettes.   Remember you could be at mediation for up to 12 hours so plan accordingly.  You must not eat food that belongs to other people in the office. 

  1. Wear comfortable clothing.  Bring a sweater or light jacket, if you get cold easily.

  1. Please feel free to bring a magazine or book to read.  Wireless internet is not always available.

  1. The parties and their legal counsel agree to stay at mediation until the mediator declares an impasse, writes a report to the Court and gives everyone permission to leave.  If you leave before the mediator declares an impasse, the mediator will report this to the Judge. 

18. If an agreement is reached, the agreements are written down and everyone must sign what has been agreed to, including the mediator.  Then everyone receives a copy of the Mediated Settlement Agreement.  The original of this document is filed with the Court. 

Fran Brochstein's Mediation Resume



Attorney, Counselor at Law, Arbitrator, & Mediator

8978 Kirby Drive                                                                                                                                                                (713) 847-6000
Houston, TX 77054                                                                                                                                                    FAX (832) 415-0139
                                                                                                                                                                                  CELL (713) 805-9591
Loop 610 & Kirby – Across from Reliant Stadium                                                                                   
Behind Mike Calvert Toyota                                                                                                                    

Bar Admissions

2009                Admitted to the U. S. Supreme Court
1991                Admitted to State Bar of Texas


1990                J. D., South Texas College of Law
1990                Summer Internship with the 247th Harris County Family Court
1989                Tulane Law School summer school in Jerusalem, Israel
1976                B. S., University of Houston in Business Technology
1972-74           Attended University of Texas in Austin
1972                Graduated from Bellaire High School

Additional Mediation, Collaborative Law & Ad Litem/Amicus Training

2012                Arbitration Training & Domestic Violence in Mediation Training
2011                Elder and Adult Care Family Law Mediation Training & CPS Mediation Training
2010                Guardianship Ad Litem in Probate Court Training
2009                Amicus/Ad Litem Training & Thought Resolution Protocol Mediation Training
2007                Advanced Mediation Training & Transformative Mediation Training
2005                Family Law Mediation Training – DRC & Amicus Attorney Training                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
2004                Basic Mediation Training – DRC
2003                Advanced Collaborative Law Training
2001                Basic Collaborative Law Training
2000                Ad Litem Practice in Family Law Courts
Current Professional Affiliations

State Bar of Texas & Houston Bar Association
      Member of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) & Family Law Sections
Houston Bar Foundation – Life Fellow
American Bar Association – Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) – Houston Chapter & the National Organization
Texas Mediation Trainers Roundtable (TMTR)
Texas Association of Mediators (TAM)
Texas Mediator Credentialing Association (TMCA) – Credentialed Mediator since 2008
                                                                                   Credentialed Advanced Mediator - 11/2012
Current Board Positions

Association for Conflict Resolution – Houston
Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity – Houston Alumni

Current Volunteer

Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program
Harris County Dispute Resolution Center

Honors & Awards

2005-2013 – Volunteer at the Harris County Dispute Resolution Center & Houston Volunteer Lawyers

2008-2011 - Equal Access Champion – from the HBA, Houston Bar Foundation & HVLP

2008 – Outstanding President of Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity - Houston Alumni Senate

2002 – Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Pro Bono Work for 2001 - Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program

1992 – AIDS Advocate Award from the Bar Association for Human Rights

1989 – Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity – Outstanding Member
1989 & 1990 – Who’s Who Among Law School Students
1990 – STCL Student Bar Award for Outstanding Service
1989 – STCL – Dean’s list – Spring Semester

Trainer on Mediation

Harris County Dispute Resolution Center – Family Law Mediation Training
Manousso Mediation & Alternative Dispute Resolution Training

Houston Texas Divorce Mediations

If you need a mediator for your divorce or family law matter, my rates are below market.

$250 per side for 4 hours
If we go longer than 4 hours, then it is $62.50 per hour per party.

I accept only cash or money order.
No personal checks, debit cards or credit cards.

My website is...

I am a...
Credentialed Advanced Mediator with the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association
Mediation trainer with the Harris County Dispute Resolution Center
Mediation trainer with Manousso Mediation & ADR Services
Board Member with the Houston Chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution
Licensed attorney in the State of Texas since 1991

Houston Texas mediations

Most of the Harris County Family Court District Court Judges REQUIRE mediation BEFORE allowing a final trial in any family court case.

Some courts even require mediation before they will schedule a temporary hearing in a family law case.

So if you have a family law matter pending, don't be surprise if you end up being ordered to attend mediation in the State of Texas.

In fact, it is the policy within the State of Texas to encourage mediation before litigation.

If you are involved in any family law case in the Houston area, you are probably going to be ordered to attend mediation.

Even cases where domestic violence has occurred, mediation can occur.  I just put the parties in separate rooms and make sure that they arrive and leave at different times.

I've mediated cases involving 10 day old babies and 17 year old children.
I've mediated marriages that were one month old and some marriages over 45 years old.
I've mediated cases where there might not have even been a marriage.
I've mediated cases with seriously ill parties.
I've mediated cases with lots of property and some with very property of limited pawnable value.
Every case is different and interesting.

I've interviewed the teen-age children and gotten their input regarding where they would like to live.  It is not binding on the outcome of the case, but I am willing to listen to their feelings.

My rates are below the average mediator rates - on purpose.  I want my rates to be affordable.  I have not raised my rates in over 8 years.  I do not accept personal checks, debit cards or credit cards since I've had trouble with "collections".  Therefore, I only accept cash or money orders.

My rates are $250 per side for the first 4 hours then $62.50 per side for each hour thereafter.
I expect payment at the time that we meet.

The judges order you to pay me, therefore, my fees are not negotiable. The judges know my rates are below market & they expect you to pay me at the time you enter my office. They know about the free services & they chose not to send you to the free mediation services.

My office is conveniently located.  My office is my Reliant Stadium at Loop 610.  My office is comfortable and relaxed.  I provide soft drinks and snacks.  I provide free parking.

Harris County Family Law Mediations

Most of the Harris County Family Law District Court judges require mediation before a trial can be scheduled.

Many of the Harris County Family Court judges also require that a mediation be held before a temporary orders hearing can be scheduled!

I often mediate the temporary and the final orders in divorces or child custody.

We do what I like to refer to as "band-aid" orders - temporary orders that are meant to last for less than a year.

Then if the couple cannot agree on what should be in the Final Decree of Divorce, the judge will order the couple to mediation again.

My cost?

$250 per side for the first 4 hours


$62.50 per side for each hour thereafter

Cash - money order only

No checks or debit card or credit cards accepted

I schedule only one mediation per day since many mediations last 6-7 hours

The longest mediation has lasted almost 12 hours!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Harris County Law Library Location & Hours

The Harris County Law Library has moved!

It is free and open to the public.

It's new location is 1019 Congress, Houston, TX 77002 - in downtown Houston.

It is located across the street from the old Family Law Center.

It is on the first floor where people used to go for jury duty.

The hours are 8 am to 7pm on week-days.

The cost to make a copy is 10 cents per page.

When they moved they got rid of a lot of books to make the library smaller and get rid of books that people were not using.

They are supposed to be adding a lot of computer terminals to be more efficient.

I hear that they are going to have forms for family law cases on the computer terminals (basic divorce forms, etc.)

If you plan to park at a meter, meter parking is approximately $2 per hour for a maximum of 2 hours.  Some meters now accept debit and credit cards -- when they are in the "mood".  Sometimes the machines run out of paper so be careful!

Parking lots are approximately $10 per day in that area.  They get cheaper if you walk a few blocks.