What the Mediator Team Does Not Do

Drafts a divorce petition and divorce decree, QDRO, and court divorce orders or attends a divorce prove up hearing

An attorney-mediator can be a neutral for both parties, provide legal information, identify issues, develop options, facilitate negotiations, and write a legally binding mediated settlement agreement (MSA) that contains the terms of your divorce. Unfortunately, the Texas lawyer's ethics board draws the line at "papering" the divorce. The ethics rules in Texas do not allow an attorney who has acted as a neutral mediator for the benefit of all mediating parties to then put on a lawyer's hat and represent one of them to draft and file legal papers (divorce petition, temporary orders, divorce decree, QDROs).

Likewise, the mediator cannot appear in divorce court where the judge signs the decree dissolving the marriage. We do not like it either because the mediator is the one person who knows the most about the couple's agreement, but it is what it is.

Lawyers are not required. Some couples have a simple enough divorce that they can use legal forms to complete the paperwork. Others in more complex situations would be wise to get the help of a lawyer. Either way for your peace of mind, we do recommend you each ask a family lawyer to look over your agreements before you sign the legally binding MSA.

The mediator will gladly refer you to divorce lawyers (if you do not already have your own) who will charge hourly fees to review your MSA, make any suggestions for change (we stay with you until all terms are agreed upon), draft the documents that start and finish the divorce, and go before the judge with you for the last step to finalize everything.

It still costs less to mediate even though you may need an attorney at the very end to paper the divorce. Do not let the fact that you may pay lawyers to do the legal paperwork distract you from the benefits of using mediation to control costs. You still save lots of money in mediation because you are not paying two attorneys to do work for each of you on parallel paths. You do that work yourselves with our help, and then use one or two attorneys for very limited legal services to finish up at the courthouse.

Practices Crunchy Granola Law

The Detente process is practical and realistic, and for many it also has the power to allow healing to begin. It is not "crunchy granola law" or based on a simplistic theory of "just kiss and make up and play nice". We know divorce, separation, and even marriage reconciliation are complicated and so do you. What you are going through is real, emotional, life-changing, and scary. The Detente mediators will get you through it using better communication and the five steps to T.R.U.C.E.

Psychoanalyzes couples, examines their childhoods, or does therapy

Recovery from emotional and psychological damage from divorce requires professional individual therapy, time, and patience. Although the mediator team includes a communication coach who is an experienced marriage and family counselor, his or her role in Detente collaborative divorce mediation is to improve communication and understanding and manage emotions so spouses and parents can reach enduring, equitable agreements and successfully co-parent children. The Detente family counselor does not do therapy, psychoanalysis, or examine childhoods to figure out how that translated into problems in the marriage.

Having said that, if there is any chance of reconciliation, it will be much more likely to happen in Detente Collaborative Mediation than at the courthouse. We have been successful in saving marriages that spouses thought were not salvageable. We teach married, never married, and divorced couples how to talk to and hear each other, and express their own and consider the other's needs. With our help, couples seeking reconciliation negotiate the changes they need to make to address trouble in the marriage such as managing finances, parenting children, or dealing with addiction or mental health issues.