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Talk the Talk: Being Prepared for Mediation or Settlement Conversations

Whether you are at the outset of a divorce proceeding, or in the midst of it, taking time to understand how to present yourself effectively in mediation or settlement conversations is important.

Part of my job as a divorce attorney in Houston is to offer you the avenue toward divorce that best suits your situation. For couples still able to talk amicably, mediation is an excellent option for meeting your needs and the needs of your children — at a lower cost and in less time than traditional litigation.

I have written before about the advantages of mediation, but it’s also important to know how to prepare for mediation and the settlement discussions that may arise. Consider these tips when getting ready for mediation:

  • If you are attending the mediation alone, meet with your attorney beforehand to learn the law and get advice about the likelihood of receiving what you want. If you have not engaged an attorney prior to mediation, it is worth it to have a consultation to learn where you stand legally. Knowing what a court would be likely to decide gives you a stronger bargaining position.
  • Although Texas is a community property state, not all assets are equally divided. Be prepared for your mediation by knowing what your assets are and where they are located. Also know your debt.
  • Discuss strategies and possible alternatives with your attorney beforehand, especially if children are involved. The better prepared you are, the more creativity you will have in meeting a demand and making it work for you.

Like litigation, mediation discussions can turn in an unexpected direction and carry on longer than expected. To avoid agreeing to an inappropriate or ambiguous settlement because you are exhausted, schedule several sessions of reasonable length, rather than day-long meetings.

If you are considering mediation, speak with an experienced family law attorney for guidance prior to and after sessions to ensure that the agreements made are in your best interests and those of your family.

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Robert Reid McInvale
Attorney at Law

Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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