Law Office of David L. Scott

How Long Does a Mediation Take?

Most couples attend one mediation session, which last from three hours to a full day, and at the end, they draft a marital dissolution agreement or set the case to trial.

Most divorce cases do not go to trial, so how do people resolve their differences so that they can agree to the terms of the divorce?  It is possible to get an uncontested divorce, where the parties agree on all the details of property division before, they even submit the divorce petition to the court, but this usually only works for couples who are able to communicate and come to a reasonable agreement.  Many couples are at an impasse about some aspect of their divorce.  Therefore, most couples go through divorce mediation, either instead of a trial or as a prerequisite for it.  You should hire a Murfreesboro family mediation attorney to represent you during divorce mediation.

Does Everyone Have to Go Through Mediation?

The family law courts of Tennessee require every couple to go through mediation if they have not already reached an agreement resolving all aspects of their case; the purpose of divorce mediation is for the parties to agree to the terms of a marital dissolution agreement (MDA) and a parenting plan, if applicable.  The court has the right to order you to participate in mediation even if you are sure that you cannot resolve your differences.  The mediator is not a judge; rather, they are a person who has completed required mediation training and has been listed as a family mediator by the Tennessee Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission and who is knowledgeable about Tennessee family law.  Most mediators are lawyers but having a law degree is not a prerequisite for getting listed as a mediator.

Most mediation sessions last three hours and as long as a full day, to either complete an MDA and come to an agreement or realize that a trial is the only option. The parties may split the cost of mediation, or the wealthier spouse may pay.

You Need a Divorce Lawyer for Mediation

Since the mediator is not a judge, doesn’t that make it easier for your spouse to bully you in mediation? Mediators try to prevent this, but a spouse with more money, education, or professional experience in a business or legal field is at an advantage. Therefore, couples in divorce mediation can and should bring their divorce lawyers with them. Even if you have never engaged in professional negotiations, your lawyer has, and you and your lawyer can enter the mediation session with a well-considered strategy. In very high conflict situations, the mediation sessions can be structured to minimize the time you and your ex must be in the same room or you may conduct the entire mediation from separate rooms.

If you and your ex do not agree on an MDA and parenting plan by the end of the mediation sessions, it is time to proceed to trial. If you schedule a trial, there is still time to revise your proposed property division and proposed parenting plan before the trial. In other words, the couple and their lawyers may be able to continue the negotiations that the mediator started and settle the divorce without going to trial.

Contact David L. Scott About Divorce Mediation in Tennessee

Contact David L. Scott in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, or call (615)896-7656 to set up a consultation.

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