During mediation, Gratia P. Schoemakers, a trained mediator since 2011, serves as an independent third party. Ms. Schoemakers role of a mediator is to meets with opposing sides to facilitate communication and negotiation between the parties.
Although not required, it is recommended that parties are present with legal representation during their mediation process. Mediation focusses on parties working together towards finding a mutually satisfactory resolution of a dispute and avoiding continued litigation and court involvement. This process allows each party to control the outcome of their dispute by engaging in negotiation and compromise. Consequently, mediation eliminates the stress, strain, and costs of contentious litigation.
HOW DOES MEDIATION WORK?
The success of any mediation depends heavily on the parties’ willingness to compromise and work together towards an outcome that would work for all parties involved. This is because unlike a judge, commissioner or arbitrator, decision-making authority does not reside with the mediator, but rather with the parties who are seeking to resolve the dispute. Any agreement during mediation is one that both parties agreed to. There is no obligation to come to an agreement, and parties are not obligated to keep in mediation if they believe that no agreement can be made.
THE BENEFITS OF MEDIATION
Mediation has many benefits. One of them certainly is the confidentiality that goes with it. Trials are public and for everyone to see, but in mediation, parties can make as much or as little known to the outside world as they like. Much mediation goes by without anyone outside of the parties involved every knowing about them.
Mediation is also a good way to bypass scheduling times on crowded court calendars; it avoids preferential treatment courts give to criminal cases. It furthermore eliminates the expense of expert witnesses and costs that usually go with a jury case.
In Comparison, a typical trial, filled with stress and great expense, may not result in a verdict for 18 months from the date of filing. Mediation, with the exception of family law cases, can usually be solved in less than a week, at times even sooner than that.
MEDIATION IN FAMILY LAW CASES
Divorce, child custody, and other family law matters involve some of the most complex and personal situations an individual can encounter during a lifetime. Clients have concerns ranging from dividing property and debt to custody of children and support obligations.
Many issues for consideration in a family law cases include child custody, visitation, child support, spousal maintenance and marital property division. These are all issues that can be resolved without going to court. It is often in the parties’ best interest to choose for mediation because court dockets have become more congested and cases risk becoming a long drawn out battle. For this reason there is a greater focus on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as mediation in family law cases.
Mediation is not only a confidential, practical way to resolve problems with the help of an impartial third party. It helps parties focus on the real issues of the dispute, and generate options for settlement. When parties mutually agree that they have found common ground on the issues, and an agreement will be made and signed by all parties involved. The agreements than are incorporated into the divorce decree or court order and are then subject to the approval of the court.
The biggest advantages of mediation are the enormous reduction in cost. People usually find mediation less emotionally stressful than a court proceeding. The rules and procedures involved with mediation are much more flexible than it would be in any court.
Another very important benefit of mediation in family law cases is that parties have control over what they agree upon because the focus is not on the personal conflict between the parties, but the desire to find a way to cooperate and move forward. For example, in a custody dispute (time with children, special or changing needs of children, child support, taxes, medical insurance, child care). Mediation allows parents to seek practical solutions which are customized to fit their unique circumstance, unlike a standardized court order. The process itself helps parents find ways to work with each other’s situations regarding their children so that they will have less emotional stress because of the divorce. A mediator will help parents look at the various options available for them instead of arguing about what they don’t want and help them make a decision with confidence. This is important because a successful custody schedule is more likely to occur when both parents are committed to a plan that they created and makes sense to them.
You will want to speak with a mediator who will provide you with practical solutions which are customized to fit your personal circumstances.
We at GP Schoemakers, PLLC can help you. We believe that the first step in obtaining results is to always keep the lines of communications with our Clients open. Ms. Schoemakers’ Clients know that they will always speak with her and be fully informed of all developments in a timely manner.
If you choose Ms. Schoemakers as your mediator, you will have the advantage of both a trained and skilled mediator as well as a lawyer knowledgeable in family law. So whatever path your mediation takes, you will have a skilled practitioner and an experienced problem solver assisting you during these difficult times.
Ms. Schoemakers charges a flat fee, per party, for either a 1/2 day mediation, which is typically from 9:00am to 1:00pm or from 1:00pm to 5:00pm, or for a full day mediation, from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
GP Schoemakers, PLLC focus their practice on Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts of all degrees of complexity, Probate, Estate, Trust Administration & Business Entity Formation. They are also available to assist with Uncontested Divorces and Mediation. They serve clients throughout the greater Houston area, including, but not limited to League City, Webster, Clear Lake, Alvin, Dickinson, Pearland, Angleton, Houston, Bellaire, West University, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg, Katy, Cypress, The Woodlands, Kingwood and throughout Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County and Galveston County.