Can someone provide me an overview of the Texas family law case mediation process?
Texas Family Law Case Mediation is a process in which an impartial third person (a mediator) assists those involved in family breakdown (in particular separating or divorcing couples and single parents) to communicate better with one another and reach their own agreed and informed decisions about their children, finances, property, division of other assets and any additional issues relevant to their separation agreement.
Mediation is an alternative to solicitors negotiating for you or having decisions made for you by the courts. Entering mediation is always voluntary
Is a Texas family law case mediation confidential?
Yes. The content and process of mediation is confidential. The Mediator does not take sides. His or her only interest is in helping the couple concerned to work out mutually satisfactory arrangements for their future as separated spouses/parents.
How does a Texas family law case mediation work?
A mediator will see you in one or more sessions. Problems are identified and possible solutions explored. The aim is to achieve practical, workable arrangements, which are acceptable both to you and any children you may have.
How can a Texas family law case mediation help resolve my conflict?
A Texas Family Law Case Mediation helps you plan the future. It offers you the service of mediators who listen to each of you, and work with both of you. The aim is to reach agreement about the arrangements to be made for the future parenting of your children. Mediators will not take sides in a dispute and they will not make decisions for you.
What kinds of persons does a Texas Family Law Case Mediation help?
- married and unmarried
- younger and older
- whether or not you have children
Is a Texas Family Law Case Mediation suitable for everybody?
Generally speaking it is. However, you will have a chance to discuss this in more detail at your first individual meeting with the mediator.
Why Would I Choose a Texas Family Law Case Mediation to Resolve a Family Dispute?
Mediation is particularly well suited to family disputes because the process helps people negotiate settlements on the basis of their needs and interests so that each can have the best possible outcome in the circumstances. On the other hand, when cases go to court a judge makes a decision (focusing on opposing legal rights and obligations of the parties) that everyone must live with, even when one person wins the case and the other loses.
What does the Mediator do?
Family mediators can help you decide if mediation suits you and your circumstances. Most separating couples have found Texas Family Law Case Mediation to be a constructive and supportive means of conducting discussions and reaching workable and practical arrangements.
The mediators job is to act as an impartial third party and manage the process, helping you to exchange information, ideas and feelings constructively and ensuring that you make informed decisions. The mediator has no power to impose any settlement – responsibility for all decisions remains with yourselves since you know better than anyone else what is right for your family. The mediator will not advise you about the best option either for your children or your financial affairs, nor can the mediator protect your individual interest.
The mediator’s role is neutral and not a substitute for independent legal advice. The mediator does not represent either party, but focuses on helping the parties reach a fair agreement. While the decisions reached in mediation are made by the parties, it is important that they be informed decisions.
What Happens when we reach Agreement?
When a case settles at mediation, the mediator will record the couple’s decisions in a written agreement. The agreement is like any contract reached between two people. If someone breaches the agreement, parties can meet again with a mediator to attempt to resolve the dispute or use the court process to enforce the agreement.
What Happens when we do not reach Agreement?
Sometimes only some of the issues are settled at mediation and sometimes none of the issues settle. In these cases, the parties can go to court to have a judge make a decision on the unresolved issues. After participating in mediation people tend to have a clearer idea of what the issues are and how they would like to see these issues settled.
What are the Values and Ethics of a Texas Family Law Case Mediation?
Voluntary Participation – Mediation can only work if both parties agree to participate. They can terminate at any time as can the mediator.
The essence of mediation is that the mediator does not offer his/her solution to the issues brought by the parties.
The mediator does not take sides.
The mediator will not disclose information revealed in the process except when a child is at risk. The mediator will neither testify in court nor reveal records or documentation used in the course of mediation to anyone whatsoever.
Welfare of children
The of Texas Family Law Case Mediation grew out of a concern for the welfare of children and retains this commitment, by helping involved adults to focus on their children’s needs. In mediation parents are regarded as the experts on their children and will have valuable knowledge and information about their needs, wishes and views.
The use of violence by one partner against the other represents an extreme form of power imbalance and as such is often unacceptable as a basis for ethical mediation.
What are the Advantages of a Texas Family Law Case Mediation?
- Encourages cooperation between the couple
- Less divisive than court action
- Parenting and financial issues are decided by mutual agreement
- Decisions taken jointly by the couple have a better chance of being honored
- Reduces the cost and delays involved in court proceedings
- Offers a confidential service
Research shows that three years later most couples who settled their claims via the use of a Texas Family Law Case Mediation felt the process helped them to:
- End the marital relationship amicably.
- Reduce conflict.
- Maintain good relationships with their ex spouses.
- Carry less bitterness and resentment into their post-separation/divorce lives.
- Be more content with existing child care arrangements and less likely to have disagreement about child contact.
- Be able to reach agreement that has survived the test of time.
- Be glad they had used mediation.
What are the goals of Texas Family Law Case Mediation?
- To help the parties reach their own acceptable agreement by fully exploring all choices.
- To avoid the need for a court-imposed decision.
- To prepare the parties to anticipate, work through, and resolve disagreements that might arise.
- To reduce anxiety and the negative effects of going to court.
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