If you are contemplating divorce or have a pending divorce, you have probably heard the term mediation. In Tennessee, mediation is required in most instances for divorce cases prior to having a hearing by a judge. There are exceptions such as if domestic violence is involved. There are different types of mediation but the most common is shuttle mediation. Shuttle mediation is where the mediator “shuttles” back and forth between a room where you are with your attorney, and another room with your spouse and the opposing counsel.
The mediator is not a judge and does not have any authority to make decisions regarding your case. In Tennessee, most mediators have been trained and apply for listing as a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 listed mediator. Mediation is informal and does not follow rules of evidence or procedure and is a confidential process. Mediation is not any type of trial where you put on evidence and the mediator makes decisions. Discussions or negotiations during mediation are not admissible in court.
Ideally, you and your attorney have prepared for mediation by discussing what your goals are in resolving your case and gathering the necessary documentation to support your positions on certain issues. Keep in mind that even if not all issues are resolved, mediation is an excellent opportunity to narrow the issues and determine what are the underlying concerns that can help you prepare your case if trial is necessary. Mediation can also be a discovery tool to determine additional information.
If resolution is reached, the attorneys can work with the mediator to prepare the settlement documents that can be signed and executed at mediation. Although most clients feel pressure at mediation, it is a voluntary process and a beneficial process to move the case forward one way or another. Either resolutions are reached or issues that need to be litigated are determined. Try to approach mediation with an open mind and a willingness to consider alternate solutions to problems.
If you are looking for a divorce attorney, call 865-685-4780 to schedule a case assessment with Melanie Hogg or another Held Law Firm attorney.