When Mediation Does Not Work, What Happens Next?
Mediation is a method of resolving conflicts between two parties. The mediator is a neutral, impartial person helping the parties to reach an agreement or settlement. Harris county court policy requires that the parties attempt to resolve their disputes.
In other words, the court wants to make sure that the parties tried to settle.
Mediation can take the whole day; other times, you can ask for half-day mediation.
When mediation reaches an impasse, what do you do?
There are three options. This is not an exhaustive list.
- Go back to mediation. It is not uncommon for parties to go back to mediation, especially if a party discovers that the mediator was partial. Also, if a party is missing in a multi-party suit or mediation reached an impasse due to a difficulty, you can go back to mediation. More often than not, if the parties return to mediation after an impasse, it is by agreement.
- Informal settlement. After mediation reaches an impasse, the parties may still reach an agreement. This is called an informal settlement because it is not a contract; there is no mediated settlement agreement. So, even after an impasse, you can reach out to the opposing party to negotiate.
- Civil litigation. Most times, mediation occurs in the middle of a lawsuit. Therefore, after an impasse, the parties may continue with the lawsuit. At this point, the judge decides the reliefs based on the arguments and evidences that the attorneys or parties present.
It is important to participate in mediation in good faith.
What is good faith? It simply means “to deal with each other honestly, fairly.”
So, next time you go to mediation, go with good, honest intentions.