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Frequently Asked Questions

What is ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution)?

ADR, or Alternative Dispute Resolution, is a process that involves a neutral third party to help people resolve conflicts, make decisions, or address tough issues. It can save money by reducing expensive litigation costs and promoting a more efficient and durable resolution of conflicts. In Texas, Chapter 154 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code provides certain requirements for court-referred ADR, which most often takes the form of mediation or arbitration.

What is the Difference Between Mediation and Arbitration?

Mediation and arbitration are both forms of alternative dispute resolution, but they differ in several ways. Mediation is a voluntary process in which a neutral third party helps the parties in a dispute reach a mutually acceptable resolution. The mediator does not make a decision for the parties, but rather facilitates communication and negotiation between them. Arbitration, on the other hand, is a more formal process in which a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, hears evidence and makes a binding decision. The decision of the arbitrator is usually final and can only be appealed in limited circumstances.

Are Neutrals (Mediators/Arbitrators)Attorneys?

In Texas, it is not mandatory for a neutral to be a family law attorney or even an attorney at all. However, a neutral must complete a minimum of 40 hours of classroom training in alternative dispute resolution and an additional 24 hours of family mediation training to be appointed in cases related to domestic issues.

What is the Role of a Neutral?

A neutral is an impartial third party who is trained to listen to the parties, clarify the parties' issues and facilitate communication to help the participants negotiate in a flexible, private setting.

How Long Does Mediation Take?

The duration of mediation can differ greatly depending on the case, but typically, it is scheduled for either a half day (4 hours) or a full day (8 hours). The more prepared, honest, respectful, and cooperative the parties are, the shorter the mediation process will be. However, if there are significant or complicated issues involved, then mediation will naturally take longer.

How Much Does Mediation Cost?

The cost of mediation can vary. The mediator may charge different rates depending on the mediator and the length of the session. At Mediate North Texas, our hourly rate is $300. However, we offer a low flat-fee pricing of $800 for half-day and $1600 for full-day mediation sessions. 

Who Pays for Dispute Resolution?

The fee for for ADR is generally split equally between the parties. 

What Are Steps of Mediation?

During the mediation process, the mediator will introduce all parties involved and establish ground rules. Each party will then have the opportunity to present their perspective on the dispute. The next stage involves joint discussions, where parties will communicate directly with each other about the issues, guided by the mediator. The purpose of this stage is to foster understanding and clarify positions. The mediator will also meet privately with each party in caucuses to discuss their concerns and options or to negotiate. This approach provides a confidential space for parties to explore potential solutions without pressure. With the mediator's assistance, parties will begin to negotiate directly, respectfully addressing each issue and working effectively toward an agreed-upon solution. Once an agreement is reached, the terms will be documented to ensure that both parties understand their commitments and responsibilities moving forward.

What Are the Rules for Mediation?

Mediation is usually voluntary, except when it's mandated by a court or contract provision. During mediation, all discussions are confidential and cannot be used in future litigation. The mediator remains neutral and impartial, facilitating a conversation to help the parties reach a resolution. The parties have the right to self-determination and cannot be forced to accept a settlement. The mediator does not make decisions on the case's merits but helps the parties agree on a solution. Any potential conflicts of interest must be disclosed by the mediator. The mediation can be terminated by either party at any time. The mediated settlement agreement (MSA) is a binding contract that Texas courts enforce. The cost of mediation is typically split between the parties, unless negotiated otherwise. The parties should attend the mediation in good faith and participate actively. 

Is Mediation Legally Binding?

The mediated settlement agreement (MSA) is a binding contract that Texas courts enforce. 

What if We Cannot Reach an Agreement?

If an agreement cannot be reached during mediation, there are several options available. One option is to schedule another mediation session, as some disputes require multiple sessions to settle. Another option is to reach a partial agreement, documenting the agreements made and resolving remaining issues in additional mediation sessions or in court. If mediation fails, disputing parties can attempt another form of alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration. Finally, if all else fails, parties may decide to proceed to court, where decisions will be made by a judge or jury, and the outcome may not be as satisfactory as a negotiated solution.

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Texas ADR: Offering virtual, in-person, and online mediation and arbitration. Swift, affordable resolution for all disputes,


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