Not all family cases require lengthy court battles. Many times, those settling divorces, navigating disputes about child custody and child support, or seeking alimony can handle these matters outside of court through mediation. In fact, Tennessee courts generally require divorcing spouses to attempt to settle cases in mediation before they can go to trial.
Below, we explore the role mediation plays in Tennessee family law. Read on, and reach out to Conner & Roberts, Pllc to discuss questions specific to your family and situation.
Reach out to us online or call (423) 299-4489 to request a free consultation.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that plays a large role in Tennessee family law. In mediation, a neutral third party (the mediator) helps parties reach an agreement. The mediator will not make decisions for the parties. Instead, they will facilitate discussions and negotiations to settle disputes in mutually beneficial ways. The state’s courts often order parties with family law disputes to participate in mediation. Parties may also choose it for themselves.
How Mediation Benefits Parties in Family Law Cases
Family law cases can become fraught and emotional quickly, assuming they are not that way to start. Mediation can ease the stress of these disputes in a few key ways.
Mediation can benefit parties settling family law cases by:
- Giving them control of the outcome. There is no judge or jury, and the mediator is not part of the decision process. Instead, parties leave mediation with settlements they determined themselves.
- Avoiding lengthy and expensive court battles. Mediation is typically less expensive and time-consuming than litigation. This can make family law cases less emotionally and financially burdensome.
- Keeping cases confidential. In Tennessee, mediation is confidential. As a result, parties often feel more comfortable speaking openly. Mediators are, however, required to report threats, acts, or mentions of violence.
- Preserving relationships. Mediation is not always easy, and parties might not feel kindly toward one another, but it can be less contentious than court disputes. Mediation focuses on finding mutually acceptable solutions, which often helps preserve relationships and minimizes conflict.
Domestic Violence and Mediation
Individuals who have been victims of domestic violence do not have to attend mediation, even if a court has ordered it. Instead, they can have an attorney represent them.
Attorneys and Mediation
Although mediation does not occur in court, retaining an attorney is still a best practice.
During mediation, a lawyer can:
- Help individuals understand their rights and obligations throughout the process.
- Answer questions about mediation, the role of the mediator, or anything else.
- Provide legal advice.
- Assist in the preparation, including gathering documents, organizing information, and identifying their goals and priorities.
- Counsel a person through negotiations.
- Review agreements to ensure they align with a person’s best interests and adhere to the law.
As seasoned family law attorneys, our team at Conner & Roberts, Pllc has helped numerous clients navigate mediation. Many of the people we served reached fair and beneficial settlements, and we were by their side throughout the process.
If you are filing for divorce or navigating any other matter of family law, there is a good chance you will have to participate in mediation. Put your best foot forward by working with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.
To set up a consultation to discuss how we could assist you, call (423) 299-4489.