What is mediation and how does it work?

Mediation is a process in which a trained mediator assists each party to tell his or her story, explore possible solutions, and reach a practical solution. The mediator does not take sides or recommend a particular solution. Rather the mediator helps the parties exchange information and explore settlement options.

DRS mediators, like other Texas mediators, learn the mediation process in a forty-hour Mediation Training. To mediate a family (divorce, visitation, or custody) case, an additional thirty-two hour Family Mediation Training is required. DRS mediators receive additional training to keep their skills current. Most DRS mediators are professionals in education, business, law and technical trades.

Characteristics of a Mediator

  • Listens to both sides carefully and objectively
  • Asks questions of all parties to clarify the issues
  • Does not place blame or take sides
  • Does not force a solution on the parties
  • Helps parties to resolve the conflict themselves
  • Maintains confidentiality

Advantages of Mediation

  • The mediator, a third party, does not resolve the conflict
  • Mediation is based on win-win.
  • The parties have the power to resolve the conflict and are empowered to resolve it.

Benefits of mediation

  • Informal
  • Economical
  • Flexible
  • Opens communication
  • Helps prevent problems from escalation
  • Provides tools to handle disputes
  • Encourages self control
  • Yields practical and creative solutions
  • Helps resolve conflicts with win-win solutions
  • May enable the parties to resume their relationship when the mediation is successful
  • Helps the parties to realize that they have an option in how they handle anger, tension, hostility and frustration
  • Empowers the parties to resolve the conflict themselves and to realize that it is within their power to do this


  • Mediation is less stressful than settling a dispute in court
  • DRS mediates most civil cases except those that involve a protective order, domestic violence or child abuse
  • Since mediation is centered around peace-making, improved morale is a logical outcome
  • People are more likely to follow an agreement that they make themselves than a decision a third party makes for them
  • If the parties take the law into their own hands, everyone loses. If the problem is left unsolved, both parties may suffer from frustration, anger and hatred that can escalate into violence. If mediation is used as soon as the conflict occurs, it helps prevent the conflict from escalating

For more information, call Dispute Resolution Services.