What is mediation? Mediation occurs when two parties involved in a conflict sit down with a neutral third party to try to resolve their disputes. The mediator has absolutely no stake in the outcome of your case, but should be someone that is familiar with divorce law in Tennessee as well as local practice.
What if I feel that mediation with my spouse is futile? Although emotions may be running high during a divorce and you may feel that mediating your case is futile, you will be forced to try it. And quite frankly, the bottom line is that any resolution you can come to with your spouse will always be your best outcome. You can never predict what will happen in Court. The Judges in Hamilton County Chancery and Circuit Court do not know the complete story of your marriage as you do. And it is important to remember that this person sitting across from you at the mediation table is someone you once gave vows to and hopefully, is someone you once loved. And particularly if children are involved, think about them. It would be in their best interests for you and your spouse to resolve the divorce as amicably as possible so that your children do not suffer more than they need to. Children are very intuitive and can pick up on your conflict. Keep the peace for them.
How should I prepare for a mediation? You should make a list of your non-negotiables as well as your negotiables. There may be certain things you refuse to compromise on, and that is ok. But realize as you go in to the mediation that if you cannot make an agreement and decide to take your case to court, you lose ALL control of the outcome. Even though you may resist to your core giving in on certain issues, you must realize that if you go to trial, the results could be much worse. It is also guaranteed that if you go to trial, your bank account will suffer. And if you have children, this is money that could and should be spent on their future.
There is a well-known adage that the sign of a good mediation is that everyone walks away unhappy. This is true. It is unlikely that if you reach agreement that you will be happy with all of its terms. But that is ok. Once your divorce is over, you will be able to start the process of healing and moving forward with the rest of your life. This is more important than anything else.