The Texas family judicial system offers a mediation program. Sometimes, it’s court-ordered; other times, parties request access to the service. Regardless of how you end up on the mediation route, there’s a standard process to complete.
What is mediation?
Mediation is when two parties meet with a conflict resolution professional known as a mediator to arrange a settlement. Typically, the process is used in child custody cases and other domestic entanglements. A highly effective negotiation method, mandatory mediation enjoys a success rate of 75%.
Referral and review
The first step in the Texas mediation process is the referral. It’s court-ordered, or one of the participating parties formally requests the session. From there, the case is funneled to the appropriate office, to which you’ll be sent contact information.
At that point, an intake analyst will review the case and decide whether it qualifies for the state’s mediation program. If approved, a coordinator will give you instructions on when and where the meeting will happen.
Decision and mediation
Once all parties arrive at the meeting, the participants go through a short orientation process and watch a video. After that, negotiations begin.
In nearly all cases, children, friends and family are not allowed at the mediation. If you’re working with an attorney, they must participate. The entire session, including orientation, can take four to six hours.
Settlement or court
Once the parties negotiate with the mediator, they’ll either reach a settlement or not. They’ll need to get a court date if it’s the latter. If it’s the former, the bound parties simply need to implement the terms.
Mediation is a common and effective method to resolve domestic issues and child custody cases. Consider embracing the opportunity if it’s presented as an option. After all, mediation may keep you out of court.