“Peace is not the absence of conflict; it’s the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” – Ronald Reagan
Settling the Case Through Mediation
In mediation, the parties negotiate a settlement of their legal dispute with the help of a mediator, whose job is to facilitate communication and assist the parties in finding resolutions to their issues. As a divorce mediator, Vonda Covington can help you and your spouse reach agreements without resorting to court. Vonda cannot, in the role of mediator, give legal advice or represent either or both of the parties; this is strictly forbidden by the rules of ethics.
Vonda has a natural aptitude for finding the middle ground and for helping people understand the dynamics that affect their communication. This aptitude, coupled with a background in both family law and psychology, make Vonda very successful at settling conflicts.
Most courts in Fort Bend County, Texas, require mediation before allowing the parties to go to trial in a divorce case. Many of the courts also require mediation prior to a hearing on temporary orders, especially if the custody of a child is in dispute.
Caucused Versus Conference Style Mediation
There are two basic ways to conduct mediation — caucused and conference style. In conference style mediation, the parties are all in the same room. In caucused mediation, the parties are in separate rooms, and the mediator shuttles back and forth, carrying the parties’ messages.
Most of the mediators in Fort Bend County prefer caucused mediation. Vonda encourages conference style mediation, unless there is a reason to avoid it. Additionally, if the parties need to have more than one mediation session to reach an agreement, Vonda will work with them.
Divorce mediation provides an opportunity to settle your case prior to trial, and without handing over all the important decisions for restructuring your family to a judge. The mediator does not have the power to make decisions but helps the parties make decisions about their case.
Mediated Settlement Agreement
Once a settlement has been reached, the mediator memorializes the settlement in a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA), which is signed by the parties (and their attorneys, if they are represented) and filed with the court. The MSA is not revocable; once it is signed, each party is committed and does not have the option of backing out of the agreement.
Vonda has studied under Lynelle Yingling, who teaches family systems mediation, and under Barbara Manousso, who teaches transformative mediation.
For more information, please see Vonda’s divorce mediation article.
Contact Divorce Mediator Vonda Covington
If you’d like to work with Vonda Covington as a mediator, please call our office at (281) 503-7373. Our office is in Richmond, Texas, just a few blocks from the Fort Bend County Courthouse and convenient to Sugar Land, Katy, Rosenberg and all of Fort Bend County.