Mediation: The Art of Communication
Litigation in general, and specifically resolution of family law and contested probate issues, can often be acrimonious and, at the very least, stressful. One way to alleviate some of the stress is for parties to participate in an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process, such as mediation.
General Mediation: An Overview
According to Texas law, mediation is a process “in which an impartial person, the mediator, facilitates communication between parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or understanding among them.” We encourage our clients to participate in mediation whenever it seems like a reasonable option. Some of the specific ways the process works includes:
- The parties to the lawsuit meet with the mediator who is a neutral third party.
- Mediators do not give legal advice nor do they make recommendations for resolution.
- Mediators guide the parties into identifying the issues in dispute and help the parties identify areas in which they have a common ground.
- Mediators encourage joint problem-solving and help the parties explore settlement alternatives without going to trial.
- Experts, for example, CPAs, child psychologists and others, who can give valuable information to the opposing parties, may be called in to a mediation session to give advice.
The process is totally confidential. If mediation breaks down, with only a few exceptions, the mediator cannot be called as a witness at a later trial.