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Mediation is a process in which the parties to a dispute (and their attorneys) meet with a neutral, third-party mediator who works with the parties to resolve their differences and settle the dispute (often a lawsuit). In divorce cases, the court will often order the spouses to engage in mediation in an attempt to agree on how to resolve matters at issue in the divorce—including (1) the division of marital property, (2) the division of marital debts, (3) child custody and visitation, if applicable, (4) child support, if applicable, and (5) spousal support.

The parties are not required to settle or resolve their differences at mediation, and if they are unable to do so, the divorce case will proceed to trial, with the judge making many of these determinations. Settlement talks or discussions at mediation are generally not admissible in evidence at trial.

In Texas, mediation is a commonly used alternative dispute resolution process in divorce cases. Texas courts frequently order mediation for divorcing couples to negotiate the terms of their divorce, including the division of marital property and debts, child custody and visitation, child support, and spousal support. The process involves a neutral third-party mediator who assists the parties and their attorneys in reaching a mutually acceptable settlement. While the mediator facilitates discussions and negotiations, they do not have the authority to impose a decision on the parties. Participation in mediation does not obligate the parties to reach an agreement. If the parties cannot resolve their differences through mediation, the case will proceed to trial where a judge will make the necessary determinations. Importantly, under Texas law, communications during mediation are generally confidential and cannot be used as evidence in court, which encourages open and honest dialogue during the mediation process.

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