5 Benefits of Mediation
In Texas family courts, judges mandates mediation prior to final hearing. Although most people dread mediation, it is quite beneficial. The reason most parties do not like it is because they do not understand the mediation process. So, let us discuss five benefits of mediation.
Mediation is less expensive
Mediation is less costly than litigation. Between attorneys fees, court fees, filing fees, drive time and gas to court house for hearings, missed wages due to mandatory court visits, etc can all burn a deep hole in a party’s pocket. Also, most attorneys charge per hour. Thus, the attorney’s fees alone can be discouraging for families who have disputes. You may be able to find a mediator
Mediation is confidential and private
At the beginning of the mediation, the facilitator, also known as mediator will inform you of confidentiality. Confidentiality simply means all matters discussed stays in the mediation. In other words, nothing divulged will be told to the judge. There are few exceptions to this rule, including child abuse or neglect. Professionals are bound by ethics to notify Child Protective Services when any parent reports abuse. Outside of the few exceptions, information provided is private. Although a mediation is private, any settlement reached must be in writing. Generally, the “settlement” becomes a legally binding contract after each party (and their attorneys – if present) signs it. The mediator will provide a copy of the MSA (Mediation Settlement Agreement) to the parties and/or their attorneys.
Mediation allows room for negotiation
Another benefit of mediation over court room litigation is Negotiation. The law is the law. Once both parties stand before the judge during trial to present their side of the case, the judge will rule based on law. That is, the law controls the final judgment. You may not like what the law says concerning your specific situation. For example, the father may be just as equipped to care for the 3-year-old child. However, there is a rebuttable presumption that a mother can care for the toddler better than the father. If they are both equal and capable, but the father wants the responsibility, negotiation with mother (who may be seeking custody just for spite) may be better. Negotiation allows both parties to decide how they want to divide the properties, assets, custody, and even child support. There are custodial parents who prefers the father to be more involved; as a result, they refuse to collect child support. Negotiation allows flexibility.
Mediation has a neutral party facilitating the meeting
Fourth benefit of Mediation is the neutrality. You can never predict the mood of the judge or experience of the staff. As stated above, the judge is required to rule according to law. However, the facts of the case may permit a judge to favor Dad over Mom. Therefore, it is to your advantage to have a neutral party. Neutrality means there is no partiality or favoritism. The mediator does not represent Mom or Dad. He or she must explain what a mediation is, get the offers from the parties, and presents them. Without interference, the mediator’s role is to help BOTH parties reach an agreement that is in their own best interests.
Mediation allows caucus
The fifth and final benefit of Mediation we will discuss is caucus. What is Caucus? In mediation, caucus is the part of the mediation process where one party of a dispute meet with the mediator. It is generally in a separate room to discuss options and reach a resolution. If you do not want to meet or see your ex-girlfriend, the other parent, a former business partner, or the other party, then mediation allows the separation of the parties.
Litigation is longer
Remember, mediation is the process of resolving dispute (i.e. disagreements) outside of courtroom. It can be an easier and cheaper way to get a better outcome for yourself and your family. Courtroom litigation is longer (another benefit not listed above). Also, it can be stressful. The waiting period alone can take 3 months to one whole year – especially in cases of divorce.
Once you set an appointment with a mediator, that is it. You attend the mediation with intention to settle the dispute. If you are able to reach an agreement, great! However, if you do not reach an agreement, the mediator
However, whether you have a business, family, or other civil disputes, mediation delays going to court. Contact our office to talk with an attorney on