In the cases of most divorcing couples in San Antonio, even those intent on resolving all of their issues during mediation will often come to an impasse over the custody of their kids. This raises the question of what authority does a mediator have in resolving such disputes. You may view a mediator like you would a judge, but both roles are very different. A mediation hearing is not the same as an actual trial hearing, and thus, the same rules and restrictions of the court do not apply. The same can be said for the powers granted to the mediator.
According to the Family Law and Children’s Rights Committee, a mediator does not have the authority to force you or your spouse to settle on any custody issues. The court attempts to rule primarily based on what it believes to be the best interest of the children. A mediator, on the other hand, is required to respect the wishes of you and your spouse. So how is he or she able to help the two of you overcome a standstill over custody? It is done by instigating a negotiation between the you in order to reach an acceptable middle ground.
In many cases, mediators are former judges or professionals who have some type of legal background. Thus, yours likely brings experience in negotiating between parties to your hearing. He or she is then able to overcome the lack of authority to force agreements by instead offering up suggestions based on your’ and your spouses’ expressed wishes.
In the end, it is not the authority of the mediator that makes a custody agreement legally binding and enforceable. Rather, it is the contractual agreement you have with your spouse to respect the decisions made during mediation.