If you disagree with a former partner about a divorce settlement or child custody, a court might have ordered you to participate in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to reach an agreement. ADR is a method of facilitating productive discussions amongst disputants and helping them arrive at a resolution that will work for both parties.

Mediation is a form of ADR. A mediator oversees discussions between parties and their attorneys, but the parties determine the outcome themselves. Unlike arbitration, a mediator does not impose their decision on the parties.

If you have been ordered to participate in ADR or believe it could be helpful, consult a West Brach mediation lawyer. An experienced divorce attorney at Angela Faye Brown & Associates could explain how the mediation process works and offer valuable advice and support.

Benefits of Mediation

Courts often order ADR because it is an effective means of reaching a settlement and freeing the court docket for cases than cannot be decided any other way. ADR is especially appropriate in cases involving family issues because it offers the parties the opportunity to determine for themselves a resolution that could be workable for their family. Judges are reluctant to impose their will in such situations except as a last resort.

Mediation also allows the disputants to reflect on the other party’s needs and point of view in an environment free of emotional turbulence. The experience often helps parties to communicate more effectively in the future.

If the parties reach an agreement, mediation offers them certainty and predictability in a cost-effective and timely manner. If a judge is forced to decide the issues, they could be in limbo for months, waiting for a court date and for the judge to issue a final decision. Although a mediation attorney in Wells Branch might have some inkling of how a judge might rule, there is no accurate way to predict the outcome.

Mediation Process

According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §154.023, a mediator is trained to be a neutral third party in any dispute. Their job is to provide an environment where both parties feel safe to express their opinions and defend their positions. A mediator listens to each party and tries to find the areas of common ground that could be the foundation of an agreement. They then encourage the parties to build a workable resolution on that foundation.

Mediation is a confidential process, and only the parties and their attorneys are present. The mediation sessions typically occur at the mediator’s office or another neutral location. A dedicated Wells Branch lawyer could accompany a party to mediation to offer legal counsel as they negotiate an agreement. Usually, each party and their attorney are in separate rooms and the mediator moves back and forth, presenting each party’s position to the other.

Although many mediators are lawyers, they need not be, and mediators cannot offer legal advice. A mediator could make suggestions about how to settle a disagreement but cannot impose their solution on the parties.

Formalizing an Agreement

As discussions progress in a mediation session, parties often agree on some or all of the issues in dispute. They write their agreement in a document called a Mediated Settlement Agreement. If they agree on some issues but others remain outstanding, the parties will develop a Partial Mediated Settlement Agreement.

The parties’ representatives often handle writing the document to ensure that it meets all the legal requirements. A proactive attorney in Wells Branch could then file the document with the court, and it becomes part of legal record. Mediated Settlement Agreements and Partial Mediated Settlements Agreements are legal documents that are enforceable and cannot be modified without the consent of both parties and the court.

Trust a Wells Branch Mediation Attorney to Provide Effective Support During ADR

If you have a dispute regarding a divorce settlement or child custody, mediation could be an effective means of reaching a resolution. Engaging in mediation allows the parties to develop a solution that is workable for their family instead of being forced to comply with the decision of an arbitrator or judge.

Having effective legal counsel during mediation could ensure that a party does not unwittingly give up any of their rights. It also ensures that the agreement meets all legal requirements. Call a knowledgeable Wells Branch mediation lawyer at Angela Faye Brown & Associates for ADR assistance.