The Mediation Process
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process through which a neutral third party (the mediator) helps divorcing couples come to an agreement regarding their divorce settlement. Mediators do not take sides or tell couples what to do. Additionally, mediators do not offer legal advice. Instead, they help couples find ways to resolve their issues so that their divorce may proceed without the need for litigation.
Mediation can help couples resolve divorce disputes, including:
- Property division
- Debt division
- Child custody
- Parenting plans
Divorcing couples and their respective attorneys will meet with the mediator, and the session will remain confidential. Depending on your circumstances, some mediation sessions occur with both parties present in the same room, while other sessions have the divorcing parties separated with the mediator going between them.
Mediation is not a long process and often is handled over the courts of a day or, in some cases, an afternoon. When the courts require mediation, the mediation will file a report with the court simply stating that the session occurred and whether or not an agreement was reached.
Is Mediation Required in Tennessee when Divorcing?
In Tennessee, under Rule 31, the courts may order a divorcing couple to attend mediation before allowing their divorce to proceed to trial. This is most often the case with contested divorces, and mediation is rarely, if ever, used for uncontested divorces. Additionally, in cases involving domestic violence or abuse, the judge presiding over the case may forgo the mediation requirement. Similarly, if there is evidence or a likelihood of fraud or coercion, mediation may be deemed inappropriate, and the divorce case will go straight to trial.
Tips for Successful Mediation
Many people find the prospect of mediation stressful. Indeed, having to work together with your soon-to-be ex-spouse can be a daunting task. Most people going through a divorce aren’t on the best terms, and if you have contested issues requiring mediation, communication may be especially difficult. However, just because you are going through a difficult divorce doesn’t mean you cannot have a successful mediation session. Keep reading for some helpful tips.
Hire Legal Representation
Though having legal representation is not required for mediation, it is recommended that you and your spouse both have an attorney with you during your mediation session. Not only can your lawyer help you prepare for mediation, but they can help advise you throughout the process and as you work with your former spouse to reach an agreement.
At Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC, we have extensive experience helping our clients with divorce mediation, and we are prepared to use our knowledge and skill to help you with your case. Mediation can be tricky, and it is important to have someone on your side, ensuring that your best interests are represented.
Be Prepared & Remain Focused
Just as it is vital to have legal representation, it is just as crucial to prepare for your mediation session. This means working with your lawyer to develop a mediation strategy and identifying what is most important to you. You should also discuss with your lawyer what to expect from the mediation session. The last thing you want to do is go in blind.
Once in your mediation session, staying focused on the task at hand is incredibly important when going into mediation. Divorce is an emotionally charged process; working through your dispute in mediation will be emotionally taxing. It can be very easy to become distracted by other issues that pop up. You want to avoid letting these other problems derail your mediation session.
Go In with an Open Mind
Finally, you want to remain as open-minded as possible while working with your mediator. This does not mean that you should accept whatever is presented to you, but instead that you should go in with a positive attitude and be open to compromise. Prior to your session, you and your attorney will have identified what you want to get out of the mediation session, and you will likely have also discussed what you are willing to compromise on and what you are not. It is important to prioritize your goals and understand that you may not be able to get everything you want right away. Though mediation is never easy, remaining open-minded can help you feel more in control and can help ensure a successful session.
Are you going through a divorce and looking for help with mediation representation? Call Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC for guidance. We are standing by.