Getting Started

What is mediation?

Mediation is a confidential, consensual resolution process.  A person who has no personal interest in the outcome of a dispute (a mediator) helps people in conflict to communicate, develop options for settlement, and negotiate agreements that work for everyone. Mediation is highly effective, and it is generally considered one of the least expensive "alternative dispute resolution" (ADR) processes. 

Discussions and settlement negotiations that occur in mediation, as well as information and documents that are exchanged, cannot be disclosed later unless they would be "discoverable" in litigation anyway.  These protections are designed to give people confidence to talk privately and candidly with each other and the mediator about sensitive or difficult topics without fear of public disclosure.

Caution:  Mediation is not a regulated profession like medicine, law, securities, or public accounting.  Therefore, it is critical to verify the credentials of the mediator.

How does mediation work?

For decades, mediating has been the number one way couples and parents of children privately negotiate divorce, alimony, child support, and child custody issues to avoid court in Texas. At Detente two unbiased persons (a mediator who knows family law and a marriage/family counselor who encourages communication) help you negotiate and problem solve those complex or emotionally charged issues that have you stuck, even if you are not speaking to each other outside of mediation.

We educate you about the law (without giving legal advice), encourage communication (without doing therapy), and flesh out your options so you are empowered to make informed decisions and craft practical and realistic settlements to divorce, child support, and child custody disputes that work for your family's individual interests, needs, and budget.

With Detente's innovative improvements to the mediation team, the structure, and the communications method, we've exceeded the traditional mediation settlement rate of 80% by over 15% to greater than 95%.

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Am I a candidate for collaborative mediation?

The spouses and parents who do the best in our process realize and accept that they need each other's cooperation to untie the emotional and financial knots of their marriage. They want to avoid court and negotiate fairly because they will be seeing each other regularly as they co-parent their children, and stay involved with family and mutual friends after divorce. If each of you wants to try to reach agreement and you are committed to listening to each other's needs, you are great candidates for mediation!

Warning:  If you are in danger of family violence or threats of harm or injury to you, your children, or anyone in your household, call 911 first. Once you are safe, talk to a shelter, an attorney, or the court clerk about an emergency protective order the cost of which is free. Mediation may or may not be appropriate depending on your circumstances.

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Will mediation work for me?

Yes! We've never had a couple or parents who have not reached agreements in mediation. Greater than 95% of our clients reach agreements on all issues. Many people are under the misconception that all they need to do is hire a lawyer, file for divorce, and the court will make a fair division of assets and debts and figure out conservatorship (child custody, possession, and parenting plan) based on the law. In reality, a family law judge in Texas cannot possibly know what financial and parenting arrangement is best for your particular situation like you do. He or she is totally overburdened and is going to require you to do everything in your power to negotiate a settlement agreement.

Ordering you to mediation is one way to do it, and in Texas mediation is where you'll be before the judge will hear your case in trial. In fact, in other states couples have to go to mediation before they can even file for divorce. Why?  Because mediation works - it provides a place and a way for spouses to talk to each other with the help of a trained, neutral person. 96% - 98% of all divorce and custody cases across the nation never end up being decided by a judge. Mediation is far and away the number one way divorce related issues get resolved. Deciding for yourself is always better than having a judge mandate what the rest of your life will look like, how much money you will have, and when you will see your children.   

The sooner a couple realizes divorce related problems are mutual and that they need each other to solve them, the sooner we can help them. So pat yourself on the back for being smart, and give us a call today. Your spouse and your children will thank you for the rest of their lives.

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What do I do first?

It's easy. Contact us by email or call (817) 283-5100 for more information or to set up a private, free 30 minute mediation consultation for you and your spouse or parent of your child. Come as you are. You don't need to worry about bringing anything with you. We'll tell you more about how we do what we do and answer all your questions to see if Detente is a good fit for you.

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How do I talk to my spouse or the parent of my child about mediation?

Let your spouse or child's parent know it is your hope and goal to find agreements that consider everyone's needs in the most amicable way possible, and it is important to you that the two of you and not a judge make decisions for your family. Ask if he or she would be willing to look at the Detente website and to attend a private, free 30 minute consultation in which we will educate each of you about options available to accomplish those goals. Meet your mediators, ask questions, and decide if mediation is right for you.

If you want to make the initial call, we are happy to talk to one of you to give you more information about the process and how mediation can work for both of you.  As mediators, we stay neutral especially in the first call.  We don't discuss your personal situation until both of you are there so we avoid the problem of the other thinking we might have been somehow swayed to your side because you called first.  Encourage your spouse or the parent of your child to call us too.  We will gladly provide him or her the same information we gave you and then set up the free consultation when you are ready.

We can also send you an email about Detente that you can forward to your spouse when the time is right. That gets you out of having to try to explain Detente yourself.

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When can I start Detente collaborative mediation?

Instead of waiting until right before trial to mediate like is commonly done in traditional mediaiton in Texas, savvy couples are hiring our collaborative divorce mediation team first. The big mistake most couples make is they wait too long before looking into mediating. Detente's collaborative family law and divorce mediation can work at any time, but you get the greatest satisfaction and value and save the most money if you both make it your first choice for resolving separation, divorce, child support, child custody, visitation, and post-divorce disputes.

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What does "Detente" mean?

"Detente" (pronounced "day-tont") is a French word that means de-escalation of tensions through diplomacy and confidence building measures. Usually it refers to the time when countries poised to destroy each other mutually decide to stop fighting for long enough to get the help of a neutral negotiator to find a solution to end the conflict.

Divorcing couples or parents often reach a point when they simply have had enough. Rather than declare all out war of divorce destruction, they wisely realize it is better to call a truce and start peace talks in their own private detente.

We can help no matter how much conflict there is.

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