FORT BEND COUNTY

DISPUTE RESOLUTION CENTER

FAMILY MEDIATION

NEW FEE STRUCTURE


Effective June 10, 2019 the DRC will no longer consider the combined gross household income of the parties when deciding the cost of mediation.  The DRC will utilize a sliding scale cost for a party based on that party's sources of income.  The costs will range from $50, $55, $60, $75, $100, $250 and $350. The DRC made the decision to change its fee structure in an effort to provide more affordable individual costs of mediation for all parties.   Click here for our new Family Mediation Intake Form.


WHY CHOOSE MEDIATION


Getting divorced and/or dealing with custody, child support and visitation outside of marriage, or post-divorce can be both emotionally exhausting for all family members and financially devastating for the parents.  Mediation is a process that resolve these issues much sooner than litigation, and helping to restore family stability.  One of the greatest advantages of

resolving family issues in mediation is that the parties

control the outcome, meaning that any results are the 

product of an agreement between the parties, rather than

having the entire outcome being decided by a Judge and 

you having no decision-making in the outcome.  It allows

parents to structure individual agreements, while being 

able to address each parent's specific concerns and the

particular needs of the child(ren).  In mediation, parents

are not forced to take harsh public opinions against each other, and the possibility for co-parenting in a 

cooperative manner following the divorce or following the establishment of a parent-child relationship is

enhanced as a result.  The potential for the family to save a significant amount of money is an additional 

benefit of mediation.  Not only are the attorney fees typically less, the amount of time that will be spent 

mediating rather than litigation the issues is significantly less.


WHAT FAMILY LAW MEDIATION IS NOT


Family law mediation is not psychotherapy, marital counseling or legal representation.  Mediators with backgrounds in law or mental health (or other areas) do not represent or provide legal advice to parties who are participating in mediation, but rather serve as neutral third-parties of the decision-making process.


Common disputes in this program involve:


All issues that would be considered in Family Court

can be addressed voluntarily in family mediation. 

Issues can include:

Divorce - property,child: custody, visitation,

support etc.

Property Division - pre & post divorce

Child custody, Time-sharing, Co-parenting and

Child support, visitation, etc.
Parental responsibility – who will make the day-to-day decisions about the children’s lives
How the marital property, assets and debts will be divided between the parties
Issues regarding spousal support (alimony)
Post-divorce custody, visitation & support

Paternity issues
Grandparent Access / Custody
Modification - child support, visitation etc.
LGBT - all issues associated with divorce
Common Law separations



WHAT IS THE MEDIATOR’S ROLE?

A mediator facilitates discussion of issues but does not make decisions. In divorce mediation, the mediator will have a general understanding of the history and breakdown of the relationship, but will not address questions of fault. The mediator will focus discussion on planning for the future and will try to identify common interests of the parties. With the mediator, parents discuss various options and decide what plans will be best for their children and for them as parents. Family mediators guide the parties by suggesting possible solutions and options to address various issues through brainstorming, mediator experience, and attentive listening by the mediator. Realistic solutions are proposed and considered.

WHO ARE THE MEDIATORS?

To insure “high-quality” and high probability that DRC mediators can bring resolution to family issues, every DRC mediator needs to be trained.  DRC mediator training requirements match programs that the American Bar Association recently called the “most demanding in the country.” Family Mediators must have completed the 40-hour basic mediation training, and the 24-hour family mediation training. Many mediators have a legal and social work background, however it is not a requirement.


WHAT IF WE DO OR DO NOT REACH AGREEMENT?

The issues agreed upon are reduced to a written document called a “Mediated Settlement Agreement”  and can be used as a basis for the subsequent divorce decree or court order. If no agreement is reached, the case will be decided by the judge. In both cases, a Mediation Report will be sent to the  Courts advising the result of mediation so the court can schedule the appropriate hearing time. Discussions during mediation are considered confidential and cannot be used against you in court.


You can download our Family Law Intake Form here.  NOTE:  WE WILL NOT CONFIRM ANY MEDIATION DATE/TIME WITHOUT RECEIVING THE INTAKE FORM, FINANCIAL INFORMATION STATEMENT AND PROOF OF INCOME DOCUMENTS FROM EACH PARTY.