Everyone knows that divorce has the potential to be very ugly. However, it does not have to be that way!! There are ways to split amicably – even if you don’t agree on the details. Texans value the amicable dispute of civil resolutions so much that The Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures Act by the Texas Legislature was passed in 1987 to encourage the peaceful resolution of disputes.
Mediation is by far the most common and arguably most successful method used in Texas as an alternative dispute resolution. The proceedings are confidential and the parties themselves participate in the solution. Mediation allows the parties to speak with candor in a safe environment and negotiate towards a satisfactory resolution.
Mediation is defined as “…as forum in which an impartial person, the mediator, facilitates communication between parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or understanding among them.” Tex.Civ.Prac.&Rem.Code § 154.023(a). The statute specifically states that “a mediator may not impose his own judgment on the issues for that of the parties.” Id. § 154.023(b). The mediator as a neutral party is a key player in the mediation process, and the Act thus imposes special qualifications and standards on mediators.
Absent a special order of a court, not just any person may serve as a mediator. At a minimum, mediators must have completed at least 40 classroom hours of training in dispute resolution techniques in a course conducted by an approved organization. Id. § 154.052(a). To serve as a mediator in a dispute involving the parent-child relationship, a mediator must have completed an additional 24 hours of training in the fields of family dynamics, child development, and family law. Id. § 154.052(b).
There is no requirement in the statute that a mediator be trained or licensed as a lawyer. At Divorce Strategies Group, our trained and experienced mediator is also a CDFA® or Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. So, in addition to the neutral mediator skillset and training, we possess experience and knowledge regarding the financial and tax matters of divorce.
At Divorce Strategies Group we created an entire process revolved around mediation called “Cooperative Divorce”. This provides divorcing couples a softer, easier way to divorce.