Mediation

Mediation

Unlike arbitration in which a third party acts as a judge and makes decisions regarding marital disputes, mediation uses an impartial third party to promote reconciliation, settlement, or agreement. Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code § 154.023(b) establishes that a mediator cannot impose his or her own judgment on the issues for that of the parties.

Mediation is generally a very flexible form of alternative dispute resolution in Texas that allows the parties to focus on certain disputes and enter into legally binding Mediated Settlement Agreements (MSAs). A spouse can file an objection to mediation if he or she is a victim of family violence (domestic violence).

Attorney for Mediation in Houston, TX

If you are considering or have been ordered to enter mediation to resolve issues relating to your divorce proceeding in Southeast Texas, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel. [firm] represents clients in Houston and surrounding areas of Harris County and Fort Bend County.

Houston divorce lawyer Michael Sydow is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call [phone] to receive a free, no obligation consultation.

Harris County Mediation Information Center

Mediation Laws in Texas

Texas Family Code § 6.602(a) states that the court can refer a suit for dissolution of a marriage to mediation upon the written agreement of the parties or on the court’s own motion, and Texas Family Code § 6.602(b) establishes that an MSA is binding on the parties if the agreement:

  • provides, in a prominently displayed statement that is in boldfaced type or capital letters or underlined, that the agreement is not subject to revocation;
  • is signed by each party to the agreement; and
  • is signed by the party’s attorney, if any, who is present at the time the agreement is signed.

Under Texas Family Code § 6.602(d), either party can file a written objection to the referral of a suit for dissolution of a marriage to mediation at any time prior to the final mediation order on the basis of family violence having been committed against the objecting party by the other party. The court cannot refer the suit to mediation unless, on the request of the other party, a hearing is held and the court finds that a preponderance of the evidence does not support the objection.

When the suit is referred to mediation, the court must order appropriate measures be taken to ensure the physical and emotional safety of the party who filed the objection, including the provision that the parties not be required to have face-to-face contact and that the parties be placed in separate rooms during mediation.

Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 154.073(b) establishes that any record made at an alternative dispute resolution procedure is confidential, and the participants or the third party facilitating the procedure cannot be required to testify in any proceedings relating to or arising out of the matter in dispute or be subject to process requiring disclosure of confidential information or data relating to or arising out of the matter in dispute.

Issues Resolved in Arbitration or Mediation in Harris County

Mediation can be preferable for many couples because it may offer a quicker and cheaper alternative to litigation. In mediation, spouses can specifically address certain issues, such as:

  • Child Support;
  • Child Custody;
  • Alimony and Spousal Support;
  • Property Division;
  • Parental Relocation; and
  • Divorce Decree Modifications.

Texas Mediation Resources

Dispute Resolution Center — The Dispute Resolution Center is sponsored by the Houston Bar Association and funded through the Harris County Courts System. Dispute Resolution Center services are free to residents of Harris County, Texas. Visit this website to learn more about the benefits of mediation and request mediation services (only available to parties with a court pleading or disputed dollar amount of $100,000 or less).

Dispute Resolution Center
Harris County Annex 21
Houston, Texas 77002
​(713) 755-8274

In re Lee, 411 S.W.3d 445 (Tex. 2013) — The Supreme Court of Texas was called upon to determine whether a trial court abused its discretion in refusing to enter judgment on a statutorily compliant MSA based on an inquiry into whether the MSA was in a child’s best interest. The Court held that the trial court abused its discretion by denying the motion to enter judgment on the MSA because the MSA met the Family Code’s requirements for a binding agreement and neither party was a victim of family violence. The Supreme Court granted mandamus relief and ordered the trial court to withdraw its orders denying entry of judgment on the MSA and setting the matter for trial.

Find a Mediation Lawyer in Houston, TX

Have you been ordered to enter mediation or are you considering using mediation to settle issues relating to your divorce in Southeast Texas? You will want to contact [firm] as soon as possible.

Michael Sydow is an experienced divorce attorney in Houston who helps individuals in communities all over Fort Bend County and Harris County. Call [phone] or complete an online contact form to have our lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.