Understanding Mediation and Collaborative Law

Blog, Mediation

Divorce AttorneyWhen you are going through a divorce or another family dispute in Texas, it is important to understand options available to help you resolve the dispute or the family law matter in a way that is more amicable than going through an adversarial process in court. Generally speaking, family law cases can be eligible for certain forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in Texas, one of which is mediation. Although it is related in some ways to alternative dispute resolution, collaborative law is another way of resolving family law disputes in Dallas and elsewhere in Texas. In some collaborative law processes, the parties can even go through a collaborative mediation, which brings together traditional mediation procedures with collaborative law.

We want to tell you more about how each of these work in Texas and to explain how they can be beneficial in resolving a family law dispute.

What is Mediation in Texas?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in Texas. Arbitration is another common form of ADR, which can be used in a family law case in Texas, but it is quite different from mediation. With mediation, the parties come together to engage in dialogue facilitated by a neutral third-party known as the mediator. The mediator does not have the power to make any decisions in an arbitration, but rather facilitates a resolution of the dispute between the parties involved in the case. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, then the case can still move into the courtroom where a judge can decide about the dispute. If the parties can reach an agreement through mediation, they can make the agreement binding.

Mediation has many benefits. It tends to cost much less than taking a case to court, and it gives the parties more power in determining the outcome of the case. It also keeps legal issues private — the matters discussed in a mediation are not public. Ultimately, mediation can help parties remain in a relatively amicable relationship with one another and can keep communication between the parties open.

What is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative law has some of the same benefits as mediation, but it is a formalized process under Texas law. The collaborative family law process is a non-adversarial process in which the parties involved in the dispute resolve that dispute without involving a judge. To engage in a collaborative family law process, the parties must sign a collaborative family law participation agreement and they each must have a collaborative family law attorney.

Collaborative law can involve mediation, which brings together the formal collaborative process envisioned by Texas law with the tenets of mediation. While collaborative law may include mediation, it also includes other non-adversarial processes, which can assist the parties in reaching a resolution to their case.

Contact a Texas Mediation and Collaborative Law Attorney Today

The distinctions between alternative dispute resolution processes and collaborative law processes may not be immediately obvious, especially since they have features in common. As we explained, collaborative law allows for collaborative mediation, a process through which parties engaged in a family law dispute can meld ADR and collaborative law. If you have questions or if you want more information about family law mediation or collaborative law, an experienced Dallas family lawyer at our firm can assist you. Out of 100,000 lawyers statewide, no other law firm has as many attorneys named to the Thomas Reuters list of Top 100 Super Lawyers in Texas. Contact Orsinger, Nelson, Downing and Anderson, LLP for more information about the services we provide.