What is mediation, and will my spouse and I have to go through mediation prior to getting divorced?
This is a general summary of the mediation process and what you can expect should you have to participate in mediation.
Mediation is a process in which a mediator attempts to resolve disputed issues between the parties.Ordinarily you will be in a separate room from your spouse with your attorney, while the mediator goes back and forth between the parties in an attempt to get the parties to compromise. Mediation is required in Tennessee in all divorce cases involving child custody, however; it can also be a voluntary process in which the parties agree to mediate when not required by law. In all cases where mediation is used, the parties retain all decision-making authority. The mediator cannot disclose information learned during the course of a mediation to the opposing party when they are asked not to. The mediator is not a judge, and he or she cannot and will not make a decision for you; they are simply a neutral party trying to facilitate settlement between you and your spouse. It is a very useful tool to help your divorce conclude in a timely, agreeable manner.
Mediation is used to resolve contested issues, and may be used prior to the initiation of a lawsuit.Mediation is ordinarily not involved in uncontested or no-fault divorce cases, because the parties have agreed, or intend to agree, on all issues of division of marital property and debt, child custody, and alimony. Under certain circumstances, mediation may be utilized before divorce or child custody papers are filed with the court to attempt to make a potentially contested divorce uncontested. If your divorce is contested, you will almost certainly be required to attend mediation prior to a final hearing or trial of your case. In that case, your attorney will help you to prepare for mediation and should either attend with you or be available by phone in case you have any questions during the mediation.
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