Mediation is a common type of alternative dispute resolution used by the Tennessee family courts to assist parties in resolving their differences without the necessity of a lengthy, costly, and frustrating trial. The mediation process is governed by Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31. Because mediation can produce a legally enforceable agreement, it is in your best interest to retain an experienced Knoxville mediation attorney to represent you during the mediation process.
What is mediation?
Mediation is the process of bringing parties together with a neutral, third-party person who acts as a mediator to facilitate communication and discussion between the parties. The mediator may offer suggestions, advice, or opinions at the parties’ request, but he or she cannot make a judgment as to right or wrong. The mediator is present solely for the purpose of managing the mediation session and guiding the parties toward discussions that can resolve their issues.
The purpose of mediation is to resolve some or all of the disputed issues without the necessity of court intervention. Mediation is private and confidential whereas a family court trial may be a matter of public record; therefore, many couples prefer to settle matters through this alternative method, if possible, to avoid a costly, public trial. Nothing that is said during mediation can be used as evidence at trial and the mediator cannot be called as a witness by either party.
What can you expect during mediation?
In most cases, the mediation session will be held at the mediator’s office. Your attorney should be present to advise you of your legal rights and to advise you of the consequences, pros, and cons of any proposed settlement agreement. The mediator may choose to place you and your spouse in the same room or separate rooms. In cases where emotions are out of control, the mediator will likely place you and your attorney in a separate room and go between the two rooms as he or she helps you discuss potential settlement terms with your spouse. Regardless of whether you are in the same room with your spouse or in separate rooms, you and/or your attorney will have the opportunity to make statements to the mediator and discuss any issues or problems that you feel must be addressed in order for the mediation to be successful.
If the negotiations produce a resolution, your attorney or your spouse’s attorney will draft all of the necessary documents detailing the terms of your settlement. These documents must be reviewed and approved by both parties before they are filed with the court. If the court adopts the agreement, the settlement will become enforceable as the final order of the court.
Do you have questions about family law mediation in Knoxville?
The attorneys of Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC have extensive experience serving as mediators and as attorneys for parties during the mediation process. If you have questions about the mediation process in Tennessee family court cases, contact our office by calling 865-292-2307 or read more about our mediation attorneys.