Our previous post sought to reinforce for readers that divorce is not always handled in quite the same way as it used to be. As we noted, Texas law, courts and attorneys have started to adjust to the reality that litigation isn’t always best when it comes to resolving family law issues.
Alternative forms of dispute resolution that first were developed in other areas — such as labor law — have started to be put to use in family law matters. Collaborative law is one of the methods gaining traction, but the conditions have to be right for it. Mediation is another. It’s important to know the difference between the two.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two forms is that in collaborative law both parties are represented by their own attorneys and all strive together to work out a settlement.
In mediation, parties may be represented by attorneys but it might not be essential. An independent third party guides the process. That third party might be an attorney. The objective is first to protect the rights of all the parties involved. The goal then is to have both sides voluntarily agree to terms to resolve the broad range of likely issues in dispute.
In Texas, most judges actually expect mediation to be attempted before anyone enters the courtroom. An added incentive for making things work through mediation or collaborative law is that it typically is less costly and less time consuming than going to trial.
A key element in any form of ADR, though, is having skill in the art of negotiation, and to that end it’s always wise to be working with experienced legal counsel.
There can be a number of advantages in going through mediation.