Preston Goodwin
Attorney at Law & Professional Mediator

CONTACT
713.828.8002
P.O. Box 8278
The Woodlands, Texas

77387


PrestonCGoodwin@gmail.com

Mediation Statutes

Legal Precedent for Mediation in the State of Texas

“Mediation” is a method of “Alternative Dispute Resolution”, which is governed, in Texas, by Chapter 154 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code.

Section 154.023(a) states that, “mediation is a forum in which an impartial person, the mediator, facilitates communication between parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or understanding among them.”

To qualify as a “Mediator” who may be appointed as a mediator under Chapter 154, a person, must have completed a minimum of forty (40) classroom hours of training in dispute resolution techniques in a course conducted by an alternative dispute resolution system (as established under Chapter 26, Acts of the 68th Legislature Regular Session, 1983 [Article 2372aa, Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes] or by a “dispute resolution organization” [defined in Section 154.001(2)], approved by the court making the appointment.

In order to mediate disputes relating to the parent-child relationship, a mediator must receive an additional thirty-two (32) hours of training in the fields of family dynamics, child development, and family law [Section 154.052(b), Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code].

A court may appoint a person as the mediator of an action if such person does not meet the training requirements, if the court bases its appointment on legal or other professional training or experience in particular resolution processes [Sec. 154.052(c), Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code].

The mediator, as an impartial third-party:

 a. May not impose his or her own judgment on the issues for that of the parties [Section 154.023(b), Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code];

 b. Shall encourage and assist the parties in reaching a settlement of their dispute, but may not compel or coerce the parties to enter into a settlement agreement [Section 154.053(a), Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code];

 c. Unless expressly authorized by the disclosing party, the mediator may not disclose to either party any information given in confidence by the other, and shall at all times maintain confidentiality with respect to communications relating to the subject matter of the dispute [Section 154.053(b), Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code];

 d. Unless the parties agree otherwise, all matters including the conduct and demeanor of the parties and their counsel during the mediation, are confidential and may not be disclosed to anyone including the court [Section 154.053(c), Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code];

 e. All parties to the mediation and the mediator are subject to the requirements of Subchapter B, Chapter 261, Family Code, and Subchapter C, Chapter 48, Human Resources Code, which require the disclosure of any information if the mediator or any party has cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person.  The mediator is obligated by law to report the same to the appropriate authorities and such matters are not covered by the confidentiality requirements of the mediation [Section 154.053(c) Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code];

 f. All communication by a participant in the mediation during the proceeding is not subject to the disclosure and may not be used as evidence in any proceeding [Section 154.073(a), Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code];

 g. Any record made at the proceeding will be confidential and no participant may be required to testify in regard to the proceeding [Section 154.073(b), Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code];

 h. Any oral or written material used or made during the mediation is admissible and discoverable only if it is admissible or discoverable independent of the mediation procedure [Section 154.073(c), Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code];

 i. If matters made confidential under Chapter 154, are discoverable under another statute, a court may decide if such matters are to be the subject of a protective order;

The person who mediates a dispute may be chosen and appointed by the court; chosen by the parties and appointed by the court; or the court may appoint more than one person to mediate a dispute. [Section 154.051, Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code].

If a court determines that a dispute should be mediated, it must notify the parties, any party to the matter may object, and whether the matter will be subject to mediation will be the determination of the court [Section 154.022, Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code].

 

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