Family Mediation is a process in which a neutral professional assists in identifying issues and resolving disputes between parties. Issues of child custody, parenting time, and child support are frequently in dispute. The mediator helps the parties to communicate, assists the parties to identify their options (choices) and aids in the writing of the agreement.
The policy of the State of Texas, and requirements of our Harris County Family District Court local rules, require that pending contested matters be referred to mediation. The Domestic Relations Office, in cooperation with the Family District Courts, provides mediation services to assist families involved in litigation.
Once your case is referred to the Domestic Relations Office, which can be by either court order or a written agreement, you visit our Intake Office on the 17th Floor of the Civil Courthouse at 201 Caroline, Suite 1709. The Intake Coordinator will review your case to determine if it is appropriate for mediation. After your case has been evaluated, you will be given directions to our main office a few blocks away, where the mediation will be conducted.
Mediation is offered Monday through Friday, and, if agreeable to all parties, may take place on the same day as your Court referral. Before mediation begins, an orientation is given that consists of:
- a detailed description of the process, and
- a presentation of nationally recognized video "For Our Children"
Mediation usually last four to six hours. If an agreement is reached, the mediator will put it in writing. Once the parties and their attorneys have reviewed and signed the agreement, it is filed with the Court.
Qualified, trained professionals with basic and advanced family mediation training, resolve cases involving custody, child support and marital property division.
If an attorney represents you, the attorney must be present for the mediation to start.
Not all cases can reach resolution through mediation. Sometimes, the parties are not able to reach an agreement and must go before the Court for a hearing. Mediation is not a substitute for a hearing before a Judge. It is an option to settling a dispute.
No - children may not be present at the mediation.
Only the parties and their attorneys are allowed to participate in the mediation session. Do not bring anyone else to the mediation session or they will be required to wait on another floor.