Mark W. Sims, Attorney & Mediator

Austin Mediation, PLLC
About Mediation

What is Mediation?

What is mediation as defined under Texas law?     

Texas Civil Practices & Remedies Code,  § 154.023 defines mediation as a forum in which an impartial person, the mediator, facilitates communication between parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or understanding among them.  Additionally, the code points out that a mediator may not impose his own judgment on the issues for that of the parties.

What is Mark's Definition?    

Mediation is a solution-oriented process by which two or more parties work together to develop a mutually agreed plan to address disputed issues.

Is Mediation a Confidential Process? 

Yes.  Texas law outlines the following regarding statements made and information provided during a mediation:  

CPRC § 154.053 (b) - Unless expressly authorized by the disclosing party, the impartial third party may not disclose to either party information given in confidence by the other and shall at all times maintain confidentiality with respect to communications relating to the subject matter of the dispute.  

CPRC § 154.053 (c) - Unless the parties agree otherwise, all matters, including the conduct and demeanor of the parties and their counsel during the settlement process, are confidential and may never be disclosed to anyone, including the appointing court.
Choosing mediation

Why Mediate?

Is Mediation Preferable Over Litigation?     

There is tremendous risk and cost involved in taking a case to trial.  The judge or jury, strangers to the parties, are being entrusted to make consequential decisions that, more often than not, have long term impact and a decision in a courtroom that one or both parties feel is wrong or incomplete can be catastrophic.  No judge or jury can understand the circumstances of the parties better than the parties themselves.  Mediation promotes and facilitates the parties working together to reach an agreement that workable and advantageous plan for both of them.  

What about Family Law Cases?     

The legal process involved in divorce and other family law cases is often confusing and frustrating for separating spouses or parents.  The litigation system is poorly equipped to resolve controversies where emotion plays such a significant role, especially when children are concerned.  A traditional courtroom battle can leave both parties feeling angry and frustrated.  After a “bad divorce” or a heated custody battle, the seeds are often planted for years of animosity and future conflict.  This can be particularly destructive in family law situations where children are involved.   A successful mediation, in almost all circumstances, improves communication and promotes a better long-term relationship between the parties.  

Why Else Would I Mediate My Case?     

Research shows that parties reach agreements in divorce mediations between 50% and 85% of the time, depending on the study (Mr. Sims' experience is that cases settle on the high-end of that range).  Parties who mediate their disputes reach resolution more quickly than litigating parties.  More importantly, studies report higher rates of compliance with mediated agreements when compared to cases resolved through the adversarial process.  Research also suggests that parties who resolve their disputes through mediation are significantly more satisfied with the result than adversarial parties whose disputes are ultimately litigated and decided by a court.  

during the mediation

What to Expect at Mediation

Mediations Via Zoom      

Mark W. Sims has facilitated mediations via the Zoom Videoconference Platform since 2021 and is no longer facilitating in-person mediations.  

  What Technology Tool Are Utilized During Mediation?   

Mark W. Sims utilizes breakout rooms and share screen capability for documents within Zoom.  Mr. Sims' practice utilizes high-speed internet connections to insure that mediations are not glitchy due to the mediator's technology. 

What Other Technology Based Services Are Available During Mediation?   

When necessary to effectuate comparative asset and debt evaluations, Mr. Sims utilizes illustrative spreadsheets and other visuals.  Comparative spreadsheets for asset valuation and distribution negotiations can be prepared by the Mediator in advance of the mediation if requested by the parties (and if Inventory and Appraisement documents are provided to the Mediator by each side prior to the mediation date).

In addition, Mr. Sims takes advantage of numerous online resources to help with the analysis by the parties and their attorneys of financial and other issues. To expedite the creation of the documents resulting from the mediation, Mark W. Sims utilizes sophisticated document assembly models in the preparation of mediation documents which allow for greater detail, accuracy, and efficiency.  

By providing quality and professional mediation services, it is my hope that legal disputes can be amicably resolved in an efficient and cost-effective matter; and in a way that promotes collaboration and compromise by the parties both during and after the conclusion of the mediation process.

- Mark W. Sims