FORT BEND COUNTY

DISPUTE RESOLUTION CENTER

WHAT IS FAMILY MEDIATION?

Family Mediation applies the basic principles of mediation to the resolution of issues that arise in families. It is non-adversarial. A trained family law mediator promotes discussion and negotiation that allows the participants involved in a conflict or a dispute the opportunity to exchange divergent views, ask questions, discuss difficult topics and find solutions. A family mediator is a neutral third party who assists the participants in exploring and finding mutually acceptable solutions. Family mediation can result in sound decision-making, reconciliation of divergent views, clearing the air, lessening resentment, greater understanding, improved communication, and better family relationships.

WHY CHOOSE FAMILY MEDIATION?

Getting divorced and/or dealing with custody and visitation issues 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 can usually resolve these issues much sooner than litigation, thus restoring 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 rather than having a judge decide. It allows

parents to structure individualized agreements addressing

each parent’s specific concerns and the particular needs of

their children. In mediation, parents are not forced to take

harsh public positions against each other, and the possibility for co-parenting in a cooperative manner following the divorce is enhanced as a result. The potential for the family to save a significant amount of money is an additional benefit of choosing mediation.  Not only are the attorney fees typically less, the amount of time that will be spent mediating rather than litigating the issues is also usually significantly less.

WHAT ISSUES CAN BE MEDIATED?

All issues that would be considered in Family Court can be addressed voluntarily in family mediation.  Issues can include:

Child custody, Time-sharing, Co-parenting and Child support
Paternity issues
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
Grandparent visitation
Grounds for Divorce

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.

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 counsel mediation clients during the family mediation process, but rather serve as neutral facilitators of the decision-making process.

You can download our Family Mediation Intake Form and Instructions here.  NOTE:  WE WILL NOT CONFIRM ANY MEDIATION DATE/TIME WITHOUT ALL OF THE IDENTIFIED INFORMATION IN THE INSTRUCTION SHEET ATTACHED TO THIS INTAKE.

FAMILY MEDIATION