Mediation is a process where the parties and their attorneys meet with a skilled negotiator (mediator) to see if the mediator can draw an agreement out of the parties. The mediator is trained in law and in the art of negotiating.
Everything that is said at mediation is confidential. The mediator can never be compelled to come into court and testify about what was said at mediation, and during a trial neither party can testify about what was offered or said at mediation.
The mediator is not there to make a decision; the mediator's role is strictly to pull an agreement out of the parties.
Many times a mediator "will play both sides against the middle", meaning the mediator may tell you one thing to try to get you to settle and tell your spouse the opposite.
One of the roles of a mediator is to get the parties to look at the down side of their case, along with the benefits of settling.
The mediator will have you and your attorney in one room and your spouse and spouse's attorney in another room. The mediator will shuttle back and forth trying to understand the facts, conveying offers, and offering suggestions.
Once in a while the mediator will request that the mediator be allowed to meet only with the parties, and not their attorneys, for a short while. This will happen only if both parties and their attorneys agree. If this does occur, nothing will be finalized until both parties have had an opportunity to meet with their attorneys.
The success rate at mediation is about 80%.
If the case is settled at mediation, the mediated settlement agreement is irrevocable and binding and not subject to change. If a party signs off on a mediated settlement agreement and has "buyer's remorse" or discovers that they made a big mistake, they are still bound by the agreement - there is nothing the Court can do to help the person - the Court is obligated to follow the terms of the mediated settlement agreement and enforce it. The Court cannot alter the terms of the mediated settlement agreement.
If the case settles at mediation, an Order will be prepared encompassing its terms and submitted to the Court - usually in about 2 weeks. Once the Final Order is signed by the Judge your case is officially over.
If the case is not settled at mediation, the mediator can only write the Court a letter saying "I mediated this case and it did not settle."
Texas child support laws use the Percentage of Income Formula to calculate how much support the non-custodial parent must pay. This formula applies a percentage to the income of the non-conservatorship parent based on the number of children that need support. The Texas divorce court may order either or both parents to pay child support until the child is 18 years old or until graduation from high school, whichever occurs later; until the child is emancipated by marriage or a court order, until the child dies, or for an indefinite period if the child is disabled. A child support order in Texas should be revisited periodically through the court for potential modification. The most common reason child support is modified is due to a change in conservatorship, income, or a child of the support order reaching emancipation.
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