Franklin Family Law Mediation
Mediation is an important step in a Tennessee divorce case. Unless the parties have already worked out a marital dissolution agreement and parenting plan (if applicable) among themselves, the court will order the parties into mediation before holding a trial. If the parties can resolve their differences in mediation, a courtroom hearing won’t be necessary, saving the parties time and money in the divorce process and resolving their divorce in a way that is more likely to meet their needs without further damaging the relationship or creating the lasting emotional scars that a bitter courtroom battle can sometimes inflict.
The Franklin family mediation attorneys at Fort, Holloway, & Rogers include Rule 31 Family Mediators who have been specially trained in family law mediation, including dealing with domestic violence in the mediation context. Having led divorce mediations ourselves, our lawyers are well-equipped to represent your interests as your advocate in mediation. Give us a call to discuss mediation in your Williamson County divorce case and how your issues and concerns might be addressed and resolved in mediation.
What Divorce Mediation in Tennessee Looks Like
The goal of mediation is to bring the parties together to resolve the contested issues in their divorce and create a mutually beneficial marital dissolution agreement and parenting plan. Unless the parties have already created these agreements through informal negotiations, the court will require mediation as part of the divorce process. The only other reasons a court might not require mediation are if the parties can’t afford it, if one of the parties is an abusive parent, or if the judge finds it is substantially likely that the mediation will end in an impasse. This is an important point; mediation is typically a voluntary process, and court-ordered mediation is likely to fail unless both parties are ready to enter mediation with an open mind and a willingness to listen to each other and work together to resolve their issues.
Mediation is a collaborative process led by a neutral third-party (the mediator) who is specially trained to facilitate communication between opposing parties and guide them toward areas where they can agree. There is no one way to conduct a mediation, and the mediator will adapt to the situation and the personalities of the parties. For instance, the mediator may meet with the parties together and facilitate dialog directly between the parties and their attorneys, or the mediator might separate the parties in different rooms and meet with them separately, shuttling between them with offers and counterproposals until an agreement is reached.
The result of a successful mediation is a signed agreement that can be submitted to the court for approval, so the judge can grant the divorce without requiring a trial on contested issues. Mediation is not a binding process. The mediator may make suggestions but does not impose a decision on the parties. It is up to the parties themselves to work out their differences in mediation or take them to court.
Advantages of Family Law Mediation
When mediation works, it is preferable to trial for many reasons. Mediation is typically quicker than trial and can be scheduled much faster. Rather than wait months to get on the court’s calendar, the parties can schedule mediation at their convenience and wrap it up in a day or two. For this reason, mediation costs less than a trial as well. The parties and their attorneys don’t have to spend months in discovery preparing for trial and calling expert witnesses to testify or examine documents.
A mediated result is also generally better for both parties. In the courtroom, the parties are adversaries, and any result is likely to favor one party at the expense of the other. In mediation, the parties work together and fashion a result that is truly responsive to their needs. Because of this, a mediated agreement is more likely to be voluntarily implemented by both parties. When the court rules on a custody arrangement or parenting plan that doesn’t make both parents happy, they often find themselves back in court time and again fighting over the implementation of the plan. This situation is not ideal for the parents or the kids, and it can be avoided when the parents work together in mediation.
Mediation is also a private affair. Trials occur in open court, and the media or any interested person can attend the hearings. Mediations are closed to the public, and the results are confidential. Mediators are required to keep their knowledge of the proceedings privileged and confidential. They cannot voluntarily divulge their knowledge and cannot be forced to testify in court. If you wish to keep the details of your divorce out of the public eye, mediation is an especially attractive option. At Fort, Holloway, & Rogers, our Franklin divorce lawyers are experienced representing clients in high-conflict custody disputes and high-asset divorce cases and understand the need for sensitivity and discretion in certain cases.
Our Franklin Family Law Mediation Attorneys Are Ready to Help
Call the Franklin family law attorneys at Fort, Holloway& Rogers at 615-791-7575 to discuss mediation in your Williamson County divorce, child custody dispute or other family law matter. We’ll give you an honest assessment of your situation and devise creative strategies to help you achieve your goals through negotiations, mediation or litigation as best suits your needs.