The majority of family law cases are resolved via some form of alternative dispute resolution. Under Texas law, the parties to a family law matter may resort to mediation, arbitration, collaboration, or an informal settlement conference in an effort to resolve their issues (i.e. how to separate amicably). These resolution techniques can result in a much quicker resolution of contested matters and are usually much less costly than a protracted legal battle.

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What is Mediation?

Mediation is a private, informal dispute resolution process in which a neutral third party called a mediator assists the parties in reaching an agreement. Mediators are usually attorneys. However, non-attorneys may act as mediators.

In most counties in Texas, family law matters must be mediated before a final hearing or trial date will be set. A party may at any time prior to the final mediation order file a written objection to the referral of a suit for dissolution of a marriage to mediation on the basis that one party has committed an act of family violence against another party. After an objection is filed, the suit may not be referred to mediation unless, on the request of the other party, a hearing is held and the court finds that the evidence does not support the objection. If the suit is referred to mediation, the court shall order appropriate measures to be taken to ensure the physical and emotional safety of the party who filed the objection. The order shall provide that the parties not be required to have face-to-face contact and that the parties be placed in separate rooms during mediation.

The purpose of mediation is to open up a dialog between the parties with the goal of resolving their differences. Sometimes, especially in cases of domestic violence or if the parties simply refuse to communicate calmly, the mediation will take place in a caucus setting. A caucus means that the parties are placed in different rooms and the mediator goes back and forth between the rooms, essentially acting as a go-between in the negotiating process.

Sometimes, the parties are able to resolve all their issues during the mediation. If this occurs, the agreement of the parties will be reduced to writing by the mediator and the parties will sign it. The mediated agreement is a legally enforceable document by which both parties are bound.

If the parties are able to resolve some but not all of their issues, the mediator will reduce the terms upon which the parties agree to writing and the parties will sign the mediated agreement. A hearing will be held to resolve the remaining issues.

If the parties are unable to agree on anything, the mediator will have the parties sign a document which says that no issues were resolved and the case will be released for hearing. All issues will be presented to the court for consideration and a final ruling.

What is an Austin Divorce Arbitration Lawyer?

The parties to a family law matter may choose to have an arbitrator hear their case. An arbitrator is usually a judge whom the parties have chosen and agreed to pay to hear their case. Although arbitration is procedurally very similar to a court hearing, it usually takes place in a private setting outside the courthouse.

Because arbitration usually takes place after the court has entered temporary orders and discovery has been completed, the parties must present a written agreement to the court indicating their intention to arbitrate. The written agreement must specify whether the arbitration is binding or non-binding. If the parties agree to binding arbitration, the arbitrator’s decision is final and the judge will enter an order which reflects the arbitrator’s decision. On the other hand, if either party is dissatisfied with the arbitrator’s ruling, non-binding arbitration allows either or both parties to request a hearing before the court for final resolution of the issues.

Contact an Austin Divorce and Family Law Mediation Attorney Near You

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If you are seeking a divorce arbitration in Austin, contacting Eric M. Willie, P.C. Austin Family & Divorce Lawyer could be a wise decision. With our extensive experience in family law and divorce cases, the firm has a deep understanding of the intricacies involved in Texas divorces. Eric M. Willie and his team can guide you through the entire process, ensuring that all legal requirements are met and agreements are properly drafted. Our personalized approach allows us to tailor our services to your specific needs and goals, ensuring a smooth and efficient divorce resolution. By entrusting your arbitration to Eric M. Willie, P.C., you can benefit from our expertise and focus on achieving an amicable outcome, making your divorce process less stressful and more streamlined. Contact our office today for a Free Consultation.

Reviews of Our Top-Rated Austin, Texas Uncontested Divorce Attorneys

“This firm represented me in my divorce for almost a year and we won all of our hearings. Mr. Willie is an outstanding attorney who know the ins and outs of both family law and the court system. You couldn’t ask for a better lawyer. Highly recommend.” – Valorie Bravo

“I met with Eric and the hospitality was great. He broke everything down to me perfectly and I greatly appreciated it. He is willing to fight for everything you want to accomplish during your tough times. I would definitely recommend him to anyone needing a Family Attorney!” – Christopher Colter

“I found Mr. Willie both competent and professional. His strategy to address a modification petition was sound and successful. What impressed me most was his matter of fact way of analyzing the issues. He was candid and kept things simple as well as understandable. No confusing legal talk, just a clear, direct and sensible manner of approaching the conflict. Further, if you’re looking for a lawyer that will go the extra mile, Eric Willie is your man. We encountered a filing issue due to the COVID shutdown and he stayed with it until completion, proving himself a loyal and devoted attorney. I remain grateful for Mr. Willie’s services and would recommend him for any family law proceedings.” – Freddy Erdman

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