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Just Court ADR

The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

Posts Tagged ‘best interest of the child’

In re Lee Part 3: Implications for Stakeholders

Just Court ADR, November 19th, 2013

In this final installment of our series on the Texas family mediation case In re Lee, we’ll examine the implications of the holding upon parents, judges and mediators. To recap, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in In re Le that a trial court judge must enter a mediated settlement agreement (MSA) two parents had made arranging custody for their child, even though the judge believed the MSA was not in the child’s best interests. So what does the ruling mean for the different stakeholders in family mediation? (more…)

In re Lee Part 2: Parental Autonomy vs. Judicial Oversight

Just Court ADR, October 21st, 2013

For the second part of this series on the family court mediation case In re Lee, I’ll examine the laws at issue in the case, then discuss the legal reasoning and policy that the Texas Supreme Court majority and dissent each followed in making their decisions. The crucial statute in the case was Texas Family Code Chapter 153, which relates to custody. Two sections of that code came into conflict in the case.

Best Interest of Child (§153.002) says the best interest of the child should always be the court’s primary consideration in custody issues.

Alternate Dispute Resolution Procedures (§153.0071) includes rules for mediation. Several parts of this section were relevant to Lee’s case. (more…)

In re Lee Part 1: A Child’s Best Interest Comes Second to Mediation Finality

Just Court ADR, October 9th, 2013

The mediation policy and ethics questions encountered in the recent Texas Supreme Court decision In re Lee are enough to fill several blog posts. Over the next few posts, we’ll look at the many policy implications of this remarkable decision. Topics discussed will include:

  • Should the finality of a mediated agreement trump changes for the child’s best interest?
  • In custody policy, do mediation and arbitration differ?
  • When there’s been no intimate partner violence, should settlements be irrevocable?
  • Who decides potential endangerment to a child?
  • What can judges do when parents in mediation act against their child’s interest?
  • When a mediated agreement sets rules over non-parties, what governs their enforcement?


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