Mediation in a Texas Family Law Case
One of the more common ways that a Texas family law case is resolved is through a process called mediation. Many judges now require mediation in a family law case before a final trial occurs.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary settlement conference where a neutral third party (the mediator) attempts to assist the parties in resolving their disputes. Whereas a judge will make rulings and decide the outcome of a case, a mediator does not do those things. Basically, the mediator is hired to assist the parties in communicating settlement positions in a way that helps progress the settlement discussions.
Consider this: when you are negotiating with another party directly, there are things you will hold back from the other side to keep some advantage in the negotiation. Some call this “posturing.” This makes settlement difficult when all sides are withholding valuable information. Texas divorce lawyers are the same way. Having a mediator assist with the negotiations and communications can push past a lot of this posturing.
Everything discussed in mediation is completely confidential. So, the mediator can never be subpoenaed to testify in court, and the conversations at mediation can never be used in trial. This encourages the parties to speak openly and honestly with the mediator.
How Much Does Mediation Cost?
The going rate for a Tyler Texas mediator ranges from $400 to $600 per party for a half day mediation. If the mediation is a full day mediation, the going rate for a Tyler family law mediator is $800 to $1300 per party. That is just for the services of the mediator. Also, understand you will also have to pay your attorney his or her hourly rate for the services provided at the mediation.
Is Mediation Worth It?
The short answer is yes. The vast majority of Texas family law cases settle at mediation. An effective mediator will find creative ways to handle complex custody, money, and other issues. Mediation is a great way to express ongoing concerns about the issues– in a confidential environment– and have those addressed.
If a mediated settlement agreement is reached, that agreement becomes a binding contract that can be enforced by either side.