What is arbitration?
If the parties agree to arbitration in writing, the judge can refer the case to arbitration to help them come to an agreement about conservatorship and possession. Unlike with mediation, the judge cannot refer the case to arbitration on his/her own - the parties have to agree to this. Arbitration means a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, will rule over the custody proceeding instead of a judge. The parties can decide whether the arbitration is binding (legally enforceable) or not. In binding arbitration, once an agreement is finalized, it is made official unless the judge believes it is not in the best interest of the child.1
1 Tex. Fam. Code § 153.0071(a),(b)