Many are aware that mediation is a common form of alternate dispute resolution that enables parties to resolve matters outside of court. While it is used in different legal contexts, it is particularly well suited for family law because it enables the parties to resolve differences in a less confrontational manner.
There are many benefits to this format. Most notably, it avoids the cost of a long drawn out court battle, but is also less stressful because it involves the two sides working towards a solution. Those who wish to keep the details of their divorce private also use mediation because it can reduce the number of Court hearings and there is some public record any time a case goes to court.
Choosing a form of mediation
Many have heard about mediation in general terms, but there are actually many different types, with the seven most common being:
- Facilitative mediation: This is the traditional form where a mediator helps the two sides find common ground to resolve their dispute. Instead of making decisions in the matter, the mediator encourages the two sides to come up with their own workable solutions.
- Court-mandated mediation: Divorce litigation cases can be very complex, so a judge may order the two sides to resolve certain matters on their own. This leaves the judge to focus on issues where the two sides are further apart.
- Evaluative mediation: Here the mediator acts more like a judge and offers opinions and assesses the legal merits of each side.
- Transformative mediation: This builds on facilitative mediation by giving the couple tools to make constructive change so they can effectively address future issues as they arise.
- Mediation-Arbitration: This hybrid starts with the two sides agreeing in writing to the format. The process begins with mediation. If there is impasse, it switches to binding arbitration.
- Arbitration: This process begins with an arbitrator hearing both sides and then writing a binding decision that is sealed.
- E-mediation: Instead of sitting at a table negotiating face-to-face, it is sometimes necessary or more constructive to teleconference.
Committing to the process
There are many benefits to using mediation, but the best chance for success comes when finding the right format and committing to it. These issues can be discussed when sitting down with an experienced Board-Certified Family Law expert attorney who works in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, or elsewhere in Texas.