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Frequently Asked Questions

How does mediation work?

In a confidential setting (in person or over Zoom), a highly trained mediator helps each party to communicate what is important to him/her and to hear what is important to the other party. With help from the mediator, the parties then:

  • Identify the real issues that need to be resolved;

  • Prioritize the issues and focus on them one at a time;

  • Discuss possible solutions;

  • Come to an agreement that benefits both parties.

  • Review, revise, and prepare a Mediated Settlement Agreement for signing (MSA).

  • Once parties agree to and sign the mutual agreement (MSA), it becomes a legally binding contract between the parties.

What are the advantages of mediation?

There are MANY advantages to ADR/Mediation. Below you will find just some of them! Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about these advantages.

  • You and the other parties involved will make the decisions best for those involved. You are the ones who know your situation best. You don’t have to leave it to a stranger in a courtroom to tell you what to do.

  • Mediation is MUCH less expensive than hiring lawyers and fighting in court.

  • Mediation is much less distressing than fighting in court.

  • Mediation enhances the likelihood of the parties continuing their relationship during and after the proceedings.

  • Mediation is Confidential. Courts are public.

  • Mediation is MUCH faster than working your way through the many complex steps of litigation.

  • Studies have shown that parties are more satisfied with the outcomes of mediation than the outcomes of litigation through the courts.

  • Mediation is simple and flexible.

How much
does it cost?

A civil lawsuit in Texas can be expensive. Filings with the courts alone can cost as much as $400.00 (plus tax). Then there is the high cost of attorney and lawyer fees. The cost to hire a lawyer for civil litigation can be around $300.00 (plus tax) per hour, per attorney, with MANY hours charged even before heading to court! The average cost to get a divorce in Texas if you don't have Children is around $15,000*. If Children are involved, it is around $23,000*.

Litigation and court hearings pit one individual against the other and are open to the public it can also last months or years as attorney and court fees continue to add up.

  • One 4-hour session of mediation costs as little as $235.00 (plus tax) per party. Mediation is confidential and is based on mutual agreement. At times even long-standing disputes can be amicably resolved in a single day with one or two sessions of mediation.  

  • Arbitration fees are determined by the complexity of the case. Please contact us for more information.

When is the best time to start mediation?

As soon as the parties involved agree to try and resolve their differences.

  • Mediation early on can save the parties, thousands of dollars in lawyer and court fees, and minimize long-term distress.

  • In many States, courts promote and even mandate mediation before bringing a case to litigation before a Judge. In other instances even if litigation has already started you can still try mediation before the litigation process creates too much mistrust between the parties and to minimize fees associated with court and litigation.

Is mediation legally binding on the parties involved?

Mediation is considered a non-binding process. This means that unlike going to court, the parties cannot be forced to accept a resolution without their consent. 

  • However, once the parties come to a mutual agreement they can voluntarily execute and sign a settlement agreement known as a Mediated Settled Agreement (MSA).

  • Once signed by both parties, the "MSA" becomes legally binding as if the parties would have pursued litigation through the courts. However, unlike the courts where there is a winner and a loser to the case, with mediation both parties can come off the winner. And unlike the courts which are open to the public, mediation and the signed agreement can be kept confidential.

Where is mediation held?

Where would you like to have mediation held?

  • Mediation sessions can be held In-Person at a neutral third-party location near you.

  • Mediation sessions can also be held in a virtual setting utilizing online tools such as Zoom or Skype.

If one of us is skeptical, should we try mediation anyway?

Yes.

  • You may be able to reach an agreement on some of the issues, even if you cannot resolve all of them through facilitated negotiations; in such cases, we can write up a “Partial "MSA" agreement”. You will still save time and money, and you will still avoid unnecessary stress.

What if i have more questions about ADR, Mediation, or Arbitration?

Please contact us with your questions. We would be pleased to answer them for you.

What is Arbitration?

In mediation, the mediator does not have the authority to decide any issue for the parties but will attempt to facilitate the voluntary resolution of the dispute. The mediator is authorized to conduct joint and separate meetings with the parties and to offer suggestions to assist the parties to achieve a settlement.

  • By contrast, in arbitration, the arbitrator hears each party's side and supporting evidence and then makes a ruling just as if he or she were a judge. Before arbitration begins parties involved decide whether the ruling will be binding or non-binding. A non-binding arbitration may help the parties decide the strength of their case before deciding on a course that would be binding.

Does the Federal Government, State Governments & Courts Encourage the use of Mediation and ADR services

In many cases the answer is YES! **

  • Due to the success of Mediation and ADR many States as well as the Federal Government now encourage mediation to resolve disputes. For Instance, in Texas the courts encourage you to try mediation before you file a lawsuit. 

  • The Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures Act states the following: “It is the policy of this state to encourage the peaceable resolution of disputes, with special consideration given to disputes involving the parent-child relationship, including mediation of issues involving conservatorship, possession, and support of children, and the early settlement of pending litigation through voluntary settlement procedures.”

 

 

* https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/01/21/divorce-how-much-it-costs-to-get-divorced-in-every-state/41010675/
** For more information please contact individual State Governments and Federal Entities regarding their ADR policies.

Get in touch with us

Questions, comments, or requests? Please contact us at our E-mail address listed below, we would be happy to help.

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