Family Law Mediation

What is mediation?

Mediation is a confidential non-binding settlement conference that is facilitated by a neutral third party called a mediator. 

Mediation is confidential in the sense that what is said at mediation may not be revealed outside the mediation, specifically referenced in any court proceedings.  Furthermore, the mediator, or any other party, cannot be made to testify about what happened at mediation  The exception is if an agreement is reached, in which case it is filed with the Court and is final and binding on each party.

Mediation is non-binding in the sense that unless an agreement is reached, no party is required to reach an agreement and the mediator is not charged with rendering or making a ruling. 

Mediators are neutral.  Their role is to assist the parties in reaching an agreement.  Their role in the case concludes after the mediation.

What happens at mediation?

Most family law mediations occur caucus style which means the mediator goes between two rooms where each party and their lawyer sit.  In most cases the parties do not directly communicate of share the same room.  Otherwise, mediation is generally structured loosely with parties making proposals and counterproposals back and forth until an agreement is reached or an impasse is reached.

Do I have to mediate?

In most cases the local rules of each County will require the parties to mediate before a trial.

Who selects the mediator?

Normally the parties or lawyers will agree on a mediator.  If not, the Court randomly will choose a mediator from a pre-approved pool of mediators.

Is Mediation a Substitute for a Lawsuit?

It is still necessary to file a divorce petition to get divorced.  Furthermore, any agreement reached in mediation will need to be converted into a Final Decree of Divorce for the Court to approve.

Can I get out of Mediated Settlement Agreement I don’t like anymore?

In most cases, no.  Mediated Settlement Agreements are binding in the same manner as judgments.  There are some limited circumstance where MSA’s may be revoked.  You should discuss those with a lawyer.

Is Mediation Often Successful?

Our firms experience is mediation is successful frequently, even in highly contested cases.

Practice Areas

From the wide-ranging issues of divorce to the delicate nature of child support and child custody, McFarland Law, P.C. focuses on a variety of issues and cases dealing directly and indirectly with matters of family law.

Divorce

A Texas divorce involves both the division of the parties’ property and, if children are involved, child custody and child support.

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Child Custody

Child custody may be initially rendered in a Divorce or a Suit to Establish the Parent Child-Relationship, which is a custody case between unmarried parties.

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Child Support

A child support order may be initially rendered in a Divorce or a Suit to Establish the Parent-Child Relationship, which is a custody case between unmarried parties.

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Spousal Support

Spousal support may be awarded in cases where the parties have been married more than 10 years or a spouse has been convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a crime of family violence.

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Mediation

Mediation is a non-binding confidential settlement conference at which a neutral mediator is present to help you and your spouse reach a final settlement of your case.

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Grandparent Visitation

Grandparents have the right to file a lawsuit for visitation and managing conservatorship of a grandchild in certain circumstances OR if both parents consent to the grandparent filing a suit.

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Domestic Violence

The Texas Family Code has special provisions for relationships where domestic abuse has occurred or is alleged.

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Modifications

Parents have a right to have their prior custody and child support orders reviewed when there has been a change in circumstances.

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Paternity

Paternity of a child may be initially determined in a Divorce or a Suit to Establish the Parent-Child Relationship, which is a custody case between unmarried parties.

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Interstate Issues

When a child custody case involves individuals in different states, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) determines jurisdiction.

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Hague Convention

International child abduction and child custody is governed by the international treaty of the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.

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Enforcement

If a parent has not complied with an order for possession and access to a child or an obligation to pay child support, and that parent does not have a valid defense, then the Court may fine or jail a non-compliant parent.

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