You may have heard of the concept of divorce mediation but may not be sure how it applies to your situation. To begin with, Tennessee law does require most divorcing couples to attempt mediation. Divorcing parents may need to attend court-ordered mediation sessions geared primarily at developing a parenting plan.
Many people find mediation offers them several benefits litigation may not. Because mediation centers on cooperation rather than confrontation, divorcing couples may find it easier to concentrate on looking for solutions rather than reacting to one another’s actions. A mediation setting can lower the emotional stakes and help the parties into a more rational way of thinking.
How it works
The mediator may work with all parties present or have the spouses in separate rooms if face-to-face communication seems counterproductive. The mediator can help the exes to communicate and offer possible options. However, mediators cannot issue orders or in any way compel either spouse to agree to anything. Thus, the spouses have greater control over the ultimate outcome.
Potential to cut costs
In many cases, resolving some or all disputed issues through mediation can reduce costs. While those involved should bring an attorney to mediation with them, as the mediator cannot give legal advice, this process lacks the lengthy discovery and paperwork inherent in many court cases. Mediators also tend to have far more flexible schedules than judges, making it easier for parties to attend sessions.
Courts generally do not require domestic violence victims to participate in mediation. However, they may do so if they choose, preferably with mediators who possess special training for handling such cases.
Other reasons mediation may not work
Some couples may have reasons short of domestic violence to believe mediation may not be a good option for them. If so, they may petition the court to excuse them from the mediation requirement. Sometimes, one party is so focused on achieving (often unrealistic) expectations that mediation will only waste time. Mediation can also give a deceptive spouse time to continue wasting or hiding assets.
A qualified family law attorney can help you determine whether mediation is right for you and continue providing legal advice and support as you move through the divorce process. Speak with a knowledgeable lawyer near you to learn more about protecting your interests while divorcing in Tennessee.