When spouses decide to divorce, Tennessee law generally requires them to engage in mediation to try to settle any disputed issues before turning to the court. The Nashville divorce mediation lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC can help people participate in this process and resolve as many issues as possible before lengthy proceedings are necessary. Our firm is dedicated to making sure that our clients receive diligent representation and advocacy during mediation so that they reach agreements with which they are comfortable moving forward. The guidance of a family law attorney can make a critical difference in protecting your future.Tennessee Requirements Regarding Divorce Mediation
Mediation is a method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that is used to avoid litigation or trial when possible. It is meant to save financial resources, as well as time and stress. Mediation involves a private, informal setting in which an impartial mediator helps facilitate an agreement between the parties regarding important issues such as the division of property, child support or custody, and spousal support.
Everything said and done during mediation is kept confidential. Mediators are not permitted to disclose the discussions to the court, and they are only allowed to say whether or not the parties mediated in good faith and reached a settlement. A mediator cannot be required to testify in court unless both spouses sign an agreement allowing such disclosure. Under Tennessee law, all reports, documents, and other records provided by each spouse as part of mediation also remain privileged. Tennessee law dictates certain exceptions to these requirements, however, including:
- When either parent or spouse is unable to afford the cost of mediation, unless the cost is subsidized or waived;
- When a default judgment is entered against a party who was unwilling to engage in mediation; and
- When parental misconduct exists, such as willful abandonment or a refusal to perform parenting responsibilities, or a history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of the other parent, a child, or another person living with the child.
Mediation is not required for spouses going through an uncontested divorce, with no children involved. If a court finds that the spouses are so divergent in their positions that mediation would most likely yield no agreement, it may not require mediation. Another exception to the mediation in divorce requirement is when the spouses have engaged in a settlement conference at which both sides have had an opportunity to present their cases. Consulting a knowledgeable divorce attorney is important to ensuring that all proper protocols are being followed and that your rights are asserted during divorce proceedings.Contact a Divorce Mediation Lawyer in Nashville
In navigating divorce proceedings, having a strong advocate on your side can make all the difference. The Nashville divorce mediation attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC have vast experience in guiding parties through mediation, as well as any additional litigation that might be necessary. We also represent people in Franklin, Cool Springs, Bellevue, and Belle Meade, as well as other communities throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties. Call us at 615-800-7096 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.