Alternative Dispute Resolution – Legal Mediation Austin
Generally, when alternative dispute resolution is thought about in the context of family law, mediation is the only alternative dispute resolution method that is discussed. Most advocates are familiar with mediation where a private mediator is hired to help broker a deal, and this is an effective option for people already embroiled in a custody battle. However, a collaborative approach to dispute resolution in child custody cases has gained popularity across the country. Texas has adopted an entire section in its family code specifically addressing the process of collaborative law.
When a client is offered a child custody settlement, the attorneys must look to the future and determine how to lock in long-term gains. If a client does not want to pay child support but is offered a 50/50 possession schedule, for example, it is usually best to lock in that possession schedule with the goal of modifying the child support issues at a later date. When faced with a child custody settlement, it is also important to begin thinking about the mechanics of how the parents will make decisions regarding the child, how they will exchange the child, and how to address the issue of vacations and holidays. Additionally, the attorney must help the client consider any special needs the child may have, and how the parents will delegate the extraneous costs of extracurricular activities, cars, mobile phones, uniforms, and travel needs, as well as tuition and health insurance. If one of the parents has an annual family reunion or makes an annual trip to a certain region, it is also wise to incorporate that into the orders. Of course, it is essential to be as clear as possible regarding these matters.
It is always best to think of all contingencies when settling. It is extremely hard to get out of a settlement agreement that meets the requirements of an informal settlement agreement / mediated settlement agreement. For instance, if you are representing a parent who is in the military and may be deployed at some point, it is best to deal with all possible contingencies including extra possession time when the parent returns from deployment.
Evans Family Law Will Review Your Child Custody Agreement
If you’re having any second thoughts about a settlement or custody agreement, that’s natural. However, you need to make sure you’re totally on board with the terms before you agree to anything. Custody agreements can be very difficult to reverse. Have an experienced Austin child custody attorney review your case now.