Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu

Can a Judge in Texas Order Mediation for a Divorce?


Mediation is a “forum in which an impartial person” works to facilitate communication between parties to “promote reconciliation, settlement, or understanding among them” (Texas Family Code § 154.023). It can be a great option for resolving family law disputes. You may be wondering: Is mediation mandatory in Texas? While the technical answer is “no”—a judge could refer any specific divorce case to mediation. In this article, our Houston divorce lawyer explains the key points to understand about a judge’s authority to mandate mediation in Texas.

A Texas Judge May Refer a Case to Mediation (Pre-Litigation) 

Texas law does not require mediation for a divorce. You can file for divorce—and end up going through a trial—without ever going to mediation. However, an individual family court judge in Texas may opt to refer any specific case to divorce mediation. It is a preemptive measure that is often taken to encourage the parties to work towards mutually agreeable outside of litigation.

As a general matter, judges in Texas will evaluate the circumstances of a case and make an evaluation on whether or not it is a good candidate for pre-litigation mediation. There are some high-conflict divorce cases that can be resolved through mediation. On the other hand, there are also high-conflict divorce cases where mediation may not be deemed viable. For example, if there are allegations of serious domestic abuse, face-to-face mediation is unlikely to be required.

 Divorce Mediation is Texas is Not Binding 

You are not required to resolve your divorce during mediation. Even if a Texas judge refers your divorce case to mediation, it is still a non-binding process. While mediation is often a great way to find a solution to key issues—including property division and child custody—you always have the right to exit the process without an agreement. The non-binding nature of mediation in Texas empowers both spouses to negotiate openly and honestly.

Divorce Tip: If your divorce case is referred to mediation in Texas, you should always make a good faith effort to work towards an agreement. Even if you cannot reasonably do so, it will still make you look good before the court.

 Many Divorcing Couples Find Mediation Works Better than Litigation

 All divorcing couples in Texas should consider mediation. Indeed, a significant number of divorcing couples in Texas find that mediation works better than litigation. Here are some of the advantages:

  • Faster and more cost-effective than litigation;
  • A higher degree of control and autonomy of the process;
  • Discussions and negotiations in mediation are private; and
  • A non-adversarial process that can help to preserve relationships.

 Call Our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyer for a Confidential Consultation

At Lindamood & Robinson, P.C., our Houston divorce attorney has extensive experience helping clients prepare for and navigate mediation. Contact our family law team today to arrange your completely confidential case evaluation. With a law office in Houston, we provide divorce mediation support in Harris County throughout the wider region in Southeast Texas.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Our Location

Houston Office


1415 Louisiana Street, Suite 3450
Houston, TX 77002

We service Galveston County, Ft. Ben County and Brazoria County by ZOOM!

Contact a Member of the Firm