What is mediation?
Mediation is an informal process where a mediator helps people with a dispute to reach agreement. The mediation process identifies important issues, clarifies misunderstandings, explores solutions, and negotiates settlement."
The mediator is not a judge and does not make a decision or impose a solution on the dispute. Rather, the mediator helps those involved in the dispute talk to each other, thereby allowing them to resolve the dispute themselves. The mediator manages the mediation session and remains impartial.
Tennessee law requires mediation in all contested divorces and contested child custody cases. However, there are also a number of benefits to mediation in family law situations. These cases are often rife with emotion. Hurt feelings, concern for your children, future financial concerns often drive parties to “fight it out in court”, sometimes with unintended consequences.
1) Cost: Mediation is less expensive and quicker than litigation. Trials are costly and often take months to get on the court’s docket. In a successful mediation, your case can be concluded that day, and you can move on with your life.
2) Known result:When you place the decision of your case in the judge’s hands, you must live with his or her decision. In mediation, you get to decide the outcome of your case. You know the result when you leave.
3) Compliance with agreement: Statistics have shown that parties who mediate are much more likely to comply with mediated agreements than with court orders. This may sound counter-intuitive, but there is always a certain amount of resistance to an imposed solution.
4) Privacy: Mediations are not public. Trials are. Disclosures can be made within the confidence of a mediation setting. A trained mediator can work with that information to help resolve the case when parties are reluctant to have facts made subject to public disclosure
I am listed with The Tennessee Supreme Court as a Rule 31 Family Mediator. Rule 31 Mediators must complete a 46 hour course of training in order to be listed initially and must complete continuing education each year to remain listed. The Supreme Court recognizes the importance of mediation as an alternative to contested litigation.