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Faster Than Court – Mediation
Mediation is a structured process in which an impartial person, the mediator, facilitates communication between the parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or an understanding between them. If the parties reach a mutually acceptable understanding, the mediator guides them in developing a written agreement.
Mediation is not a substitute for legal advice or representation. But it can be a tool in resolving Family Law matters. My training as a Family Law Mediator will guide parties toward a solution to fit their unique circumstances and lessen the anger and resentment that usually accompanies divorce or child custody matters.
When Is Mediation Required
In San Antonio, if a jury trial is requested, mediation is required before trial. If the parties cannot agree on a mediator, the court will appoint one for them.
Mediation is a non-binding Alternative Dispute Resolution procedure for the settlement of disputes. “Non-binding” means that you control the outcome and are not required to settle your case. Although there is a trained mediator who “facilitates” the proceedings, there is no Judge (or Arbitrator) making a decision or imposing his or her will upon you. The mediator is neutral and will remain impartial in the proceedings, meaning that they do not “take sides.” You retain control as to whether, and, if so, under what terms, the case settles. The matters discussed at the mediation are confidential, so you cannot subpoena the mediator to testify and you cannot use what one party says (or doesn’t say) at the mediation against them in Court. If the parties are not able to settle their case by mediation, then the parties still have the ability to go to the Judge for a decision.
Why Is Mediation Successful
Mediation has been a very successful method for resolving disputes in divorce and other family law cases (which could include paternity cases, modifications, enforcement actions, grandparent rights cases, and child custody cases). The only proviso is that the parties (and their attorneys) must genuinely intend to put forth a good-faith effort to settle their disputes. Most mediators also do not take mediation cases when there have been allegations of domestic violence during the relationship. In most divorce and family cases, the reality is that the parties know each other very well and — despite what is commonly said during these highly charged cases — have the ability to resolve their disputes peacefully and fairly. The legal proceedings are no different. Additionally, when there are children involved, the parties will have to deal with one another for many years after the legal case ends. Therefore, the amicable settlement of the dispute is very important.
Another realistic observation that can be made from successful mediations is that the parties are much more likely to comply with a settlement that is reached by agreement, than with a Court’s order that is arbitrarily imposed upon a party.
“My mission is to provide Attorneys and their clients a confidential, safe and effective environment in which they can resolve their conflicts from the past and move forward to a better future.”