The Merits of Mediating your Legal Dispute

We want to start off this blog with a simple—yet profound—statement: not every legal dispute has to be resolved in court. Plenty of Texans are unaware of alternative dispute resolution procedures like arbitration and mediation. So, when someone buys a house in League City and runs into an issue related to the purchase contract, they believe the next step has to be litigation. 

In fact, the Texas Real Estate Commission and state law encourages parties in a real estate transaction to use mediation or (in certain cases) arbitration for dispute resolution. These methods for resolving disputes—especially mediation—have several benefits over litigation.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is an informal system of resolving legal disputes before they go to court. The mediator is a neutral third party tasked with helping the disputing parties come to an agreement. In Texas, licensed mediators are required to go through training. Licensing requirements differ based on the practice area (family law, real estate, probate matters, etc.). 

A typical mediation session consists of both parties (and their attorneys) gathering at one location. All parties may be in the same room for the discussion. However, especially contentious disagreements may require the parties to be stationed in separate rooms. 

No matter the physical arrangements, the mediator asks each party to describe the disagreement and their respective goals. Neither party will get everything they want in the mediation agreement, but the collaborative nature of mediation allows the parties more control over the result. Otherwise, a stranger in a black robe will make the ultimate decision. 

If mediation is unsuccessful, parties typically have the option of escalating the dispute to the courtroom. Conversely, the parties may sign a mediated settlement agreement, which is legally binding. 

Benefits of Mediation

Parties to a legal dispute have several reasons for considering mediation: 

  • Mediation is almost always less expensive than litigation and arbitration. 
  • Mediating a dispute is often more efficient than litigation.
  • Mediation can help preserve the relationship between the two parties.
  • The discussions and negotiations involved in mediation, unlike litigation, are not public record. Therefore, mediation can keep certain details confidential. 

Mediation Still Necessitates an Attorney

Despite the relatively casual and informal environment associated with mediation, disputing parties still need to be represented by an experienced Texas attorney. Whether you’re mediating a real estate or probate dispute, the things you agree in the mediation settlement are legally binding. Just because you are not in a courtroom does not mean the matters being discussed are not serious and consequential.

Albright & Lumpkin has represented countless Texans in mediation. We handle mediated disputes in real estate matters, probate disputes, and business-related disagreements. Our team is here to answer your questions; call us at (281) 736-1324 today!

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At Albright & Lumpkin, we help individuals, families, and business owners achieve their goals and protect their futures.

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