Family law issues can be emotionally difficult. Many people believe that they have to go to court to address these concerns, but they may want to consider mediation instead. Mediation is an out-of-court process that facilitates communication and cooperation between the parties to reach an agreement.
Mediation is often less expensive and more time efficient than going to court.
In mediation, parties work with a neutral third party called a mediator. The mediator helps the parties to identify and address their concerns, but does not decide the outcome of the dispute for them. It may be helpful in situations with couples who are divorcing, in child custody and visitation disagreements and other family law issues.
In Texas, mediators must complete a mediator training course that helps them learn effective conflict resolution methods.
Either party in the family law dispute can request mediation. Sometimes, the court orders it. The mediation usually occurs over several meetings. The length of the sessions may vary depending on the complexity of the issue and whether the parties are willing to compromise. The mediator can help the parties find areas where they can meet in the middle.
The discussions during mediation are usually confidential and cannot be disclosed during court proceedings. If the parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement, they can submit it to the court. If the court approves it, it will issue an order.
If the parties cannot come to an agreement during mediation, they still have the option to go to court.