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View From The Bench

Keys to a Successful Mediation

Posted by Walter Armatys | May 30, 2023 | 0 Comments

During my time as mediator, I've learned that a successful mediation is not unlike a successful trial. So, that begs the question: What is essential before you can have a successful trial?


You would NEVER go into a contested trial if you were unprepared. And you should never go into a mediation unprepared. You may think that you don't need to “prepare” for a mediation, but you do! I've found that if you prepare, you stand a better chance of saving your client thousands, if not TENS of thousands of dollars. That alone should be impetus enough to prepare for mediation. 

So, let's talk about the specifics of Mediation Preparation. 


When you sign up at Armatys Millard PLLC (, the first communication you will receive from us includes a request for a mediation memo. This is invaluable to us. It gives us the basic information as to what the contested issues will likely be, what your client's position is on the issues, what the other party's position is, and why it ought to be resolved in a particular manner.  We ask for these memos at least a day in advance.  That information, as well as the other preparation we've done (you aren't the only one preparing for the mediation), enables us to get an idea of how to achieve the goal of settlement. 


Further, provide us with the documents necessary to support your position. Your client's income information, Inventory and Appraisement, and Proposed Property Division are always helpful. 

From your previous involvement in the case, you should have a pretty good idea what the other party will be seeking in mediation or at trial. You also know whether you have evidence that we can use to persuade them to come down from what may be for them, an untenable position. Photos, e-mails, and texts are invaluable. While there may be some rationale to save those for trial, they are discoverable and you've either already produced them, or will need to anyway. So let us use them to get the case to settle. 


Come to the mediation expecting to settle. Most mediations settle along lines very similar to what the trial court will order if the case goes to trial.  Some clients need a reality check. If they have a position on a particular issue that they will not budge from at mediation, you need to let them know what their chances are of getting what they want at trial, including how much it will cost!  Be up front with them about that. If they want to pay below-guideline child support for instance or obtain a wildly disproportionate share of the marital estate, let them know how rarely that happens, and what it will cost them for you to try that issue. The vast majority of time, they'd be better off settling rather than taking that issue to court and losing. The same could be said for most any issues presented—custody, rights and duties, possession, pick up and drop off, property division and spousal maintenance.


If your client wants the proverbial “pound of flesh”, don't let that get in the way of prudent case management. Let your client know that their hurt feelings, jealousy, rage, or sorrow are not good reasons to bring a case to trial. Their quest to “hurt” the other party will cost thousands of dollars, easily.  And it may not provide the result they want.


Prepare for your mediation as you would a trial. Educate your client as to the realities of their case. Be up front with them. Have those hard conversations. Give us the pre-mediation information we request so we can know the issues involved and be better prepared to get your client a positive result at mediation.


Are you a family law attorney in need of reliable and effective mediation services? Look no further! At Armatys Millard PLLC, we specialize in providing top-notch mediation services that can help you achieve optimal outcomes for your clients.

Whether you're dealing with complex custody disputes, property division matters, or spousal support issues, our experienced mediators are here to assist you. With a proven track record of successful resolutions and a deep understanding of family law dynamics, we can help you navigate the mediation process with confidence.

Don't let unresolved conflicts burden your caseload or drain your clients' resources. Take advantage of our expertise and commitment to facilitating fair and mutually beneficial agreements.

Contact us today at (281) 313-6800 to discuss how our mediation services can benefit your family law practice. Better yet, schedule a session NOW. Let's work together to provide your clients with the best possible outcomes through effective mediation.

About the Author

Walter Armatys

Walter Armatys is a former Family Court Judge for the 328th District of Fort Bend County. More than thirty years of family law experience, including contentious custody and complex property division cases, Walter can assist you in resolving even the most complex cases through mediation or arbitration.


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If you need to mediate or arbitrate a divorce, custody dispute, or other family law issue, Armatys Millard has the experience, knowledge, and judicial wisdom to help.

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