MEDIATION is an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) method commonly used in resolving family law cases.
Generally, Texas courts will order mediation before proceeding to trial, especially in family law cases. The mediation process is confidential and involves the mediator working with the parties and their attorneys to facilitate a settlement.
We have many years of experience representing clients during the mediation process and even serving as mediators. However, when mediation fails, we rely on our extensive litigation experience to obtain the best possible outcome for our clients.
How Does Mediation Work?
Mediation is a service that is facilitated by a trained mediator to act as an impartial party to a dispute. In the case of mediation, only the lawyers and the client are allowed to be present. In most family law mediations, the parties are kept in separate rooms with the mediator going back-and-forth to exchange ideas and settlement offers. The parties are usually never in the same room.
Family law cases often use mediation as a first step to try to resolve issues between the parties. We have worked with a significant number of mediators and we have mediators on our staff. We value the processes that mediators bring to the dispute resolution process. It can be an excellent way to reach an agreement without having to go to court. The success rate for mediation is very high, which is one of the main reasons that Courts require mediation.
The meeting is usually at either attorney’s office, the mediator’s office or a neutral location. There may be others involved in the proceedings such as counselors or social workers but the process is driven by the client(s) and their goals. The environment is meant to support both parties and be as non-confrontational as possible.
The mediator does not offer legal advice but is there to facilitate communication between the parties. The mediator will go over the guidelines and expectations of the session and they will ensure that they are followed by both parties. The goal of mediation is to reach an agreement called a “Mediated Settlement Agreement” or “MSA.” If that doesn’t happen, then the legal counsel will step in to advise on the next steps. If a Mediated Settlement Agreement is reached, then it is binding and not revocable by law. In some instances, parties may not settle all issues but only some. In those limited cases, the parties will enter into a “Partial Mediated Settlement Agreement.”
If you are going through mediation, it’s a good idea to have an experienced lawyer by your side. Unfortunately, mediation isn’t always a foolproof method for getting both parties to come to an agreement. When mediation doesn’t work, then our legal team will be ready to help you. We’re here to do what it takes to successfully resolve your family law issues.