Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code § 154.002 states it “is the policy of this state to encourage the peaceable resolution of disputes, with special consideration given to disputes involving the parent-child relationship, including the mediation of issues involving conservatorship, possession, and support of children, and the early settlement of pending litigation through voluntary settlement procedures.” In Texas, a court can, on its own motion or the motion of a party, refer a pending dispute for resolution by an alternative dispute resolution procedure.
Alternative dispute resolution (sometimes referred to simply as “ADR”) involves more conciliatory techniques that allow parties to amicably resolve certain disputes in divorce or family law cases. For many people, the ability to resolve a legal dispute outside a court can save considerable time and money. Have you been ordered to use or are you considering alternative dispute resolution for your divorce in Southeast Texas? You will want to quickly contact The Gonzalez Law Group.
Overview of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Harris County
- Advantages of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Harris County
- Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Texas
- Alternative Dispute Resolution Resources in Texas
Advantages of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Harris County
In most cases, alternative dispute resolution offers multiple advantages over litigation. In addition to providing faster results at much lower costs, other possible benefits include:
- Less formal than litigation;
- Autonomy (an arbitrator or mediator can be selected, whereas a judge cannot);
- Minimizes impact on children;
- Neutrality; and
- Finality (in certain cases).
Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Texas
There are three different kinds of alternative dispute resolution are described in the Texas Family Code:
Both parties and their attorneys present their cases to a neutral third-party arbitrator. Arbitration hearings are typically run like trials and use the same rules of evidence. A decision may be binding or nonbinding. Both parties are bound by an arbitrator’s final decision when it is binding, but decisions are not final and either party reserves the right to pursue a formal trial when they are nonbinding;
Both parties and their attorneys meet with a neutral third-party mediator. The mediator attempts to get the two parties to come to an agreement on a voluntary settlement instead of attempting to resolve disputes. If the two sides cannot arrive at an agreeable settlement, the case will move towards litigation; and
Informal Settlement Conference
Both parties meet to determine a settlement without a third party. Some conferences may be conducted without attorneys. Like mediation, cases that do not arrive at a settlement will generally move to litigation.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Resources in Texas
Texas Family Code | Chapter 6, Subchapter G. Alternative Dispute Resolution — View the full text of the Texas Family Code that discusses alternative dispute resolution. You can find information about determination of validity and enforceability of contract containing agreement to arbitrate as well as arbitration procedures and mediation procedures. You can also learn more about informal settlement conferences.
Alternative Dispute Resolution | Houston Bar Association (HBA) — The HBA’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Section is committed to educating and informing members on the benefits and all aspects of mediation, arbitration, and other forms of alternatives to litigation. Its Council meets monthly to plan education programs that are presented monthly from September until May. You can also find information about the Family Law and Collaborative Law Sections of the HBA.
Houston Bar Association
1111 Bagby St., FLB 200
Houston, TX 77002
Contact Alternative Dispute Resolution Lawyers in Houston, TX
If you have been considering or were ordered to use alternative dispute resolution in Harris County, it is in your best interest to still retain legal counsel. The Gonzalez Law Group assists individuals in communities throughout Harris County, Friendswood, Pearland, Seabrook, League City, Deer Park, Pasadena, La Porte, Galena Park, Baytown, and many others.
Our divorce attorneys in Houston will work tirelessly to help negotiate the most favorable possible agreement. You can have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (832) 530-4070 or fill out an online contact form to receive a free, confidential consultation.