-FAMILY MEDIATION-

We help families resolve disagreements about marriage, separation, divorce, and parenting schedules, child support, alimony, and property division. We also offer an informal meeting among the parties or a scheduled settlement conference. The dispute may either be pending in a court or potentially a dispute which may be filed in court. Even if a court tells you that you must go to mediation, you won’t be forced to make any decision unless it is acceptable to you. In mediation, you speak for yourself and make your own decisions. Children are not regular participants in the process. In some situations, it may be appropriate for a lawyer, a support person, or other family members to participate in the process. If you want your children to give their opinion on a specific issue or proposal, they might come to mediation or the mediator might meet with them separately—especially if they are older.

In choosing Family Mediation, you are choosing a method that will enable you to:

  • Plan for your own future
  • Accomplish your goals in a focused, thoughtful, and creative way
  • Maintain control over your resolution and the process for getting there
  • Reduce costs and keep your situation private.

Divorce

Mediation is a method often chosen by divorcing couples who wish to maintain an amicable relationship with each other throughout the process and avoid the hostility and expense which often accompany litigation.  The mediator guides participants through the issues that will be included in the divorce agreement so that when the mediation is complete, participants will have the information they need to finalize their divorce.  

These are just some of the benefits of choosing to mediate your divorce:

  • Participants tend to adhere to the terms of mediated agreements vs. litigated judgments
  • Adherence to agreement terms minimizes or eliminates future litigation 
  • Participants can maintain amicable relationships with each other post-divorce
  • Participants can consolidate expenses by jointly hiring any needed professionals, such as appraisers or financial neutrals
  • Children avoid exposure to the conflict associated with litigation
  • Participants have more flexibility in negotiating alimony, child support, and asset valuation and division, than would be available through litigation
  • Participants can establish a practical parenting plan that meets the children’s needs. 

Co-/Parenting Plan

A Parenting Plan is a written plan outlining:

  • The responsibilities of each parent for the children
  • Where the children will primarily reside and
  • When they will be with each parent.

For more information about parenting plans, see the parenting plan released by the Tennessee Family Court Department.

Unmarried Parents

 

If unmarried parents have children (whether or not they are living together), parenting, and support of the children can raise important and complicated issues.  An experienced family mediator can help you come to decisions about the practical considerations of raising children out-of-wedlock without resorting to litigation.

Mediation for unmarried parents can assist with decisions regarding:

  • Child Support
  • Parenting Plan
  • Establishing Paternity

Pre & Post-Nuptial Agreements

Mediation is a helpful process for negotiating prenuptial and postnuptial agreements because:

  • Participants learn about their rights and responsibilities as spouses
  • Participants create customized plans based on their respective goals and concerns
  • Participants can have difficult conversations in a structured, neutral environment

Family Business

Family businesses often create a high level of conflict, resulting in difficult business and personal Issues. These disputes often have the quality of a divorce. In family held enterprises, especially those where the second generation has taken control, there may be ongoing resentments and inequalities of contribution that result in family business conflict. 

Throughout the family business mediation process, many issues may be discussed including:

  • Family Business Succession Planning
  • Selling the Family Business
  • Divorce and the Family Business



Family Business Succession Planning

As in any business, in a family business, transitioning the business from one generation to the next is a complex and difficult process often resulting in conflict among family members. When the elder generation relinquishes control of a family business, there is often a struggle for control between members of the next generation. This type of conflict, because it relates to family relationships and histories, lends itself to the mediation process with an experienced family mediator who has a deep knowledge of business and finances.

Mediation can help to restore family relationships, heal wounds, break through impasses, and work on concrete structures and agreements that help the family members go forward without unnecessary family conflict. 

Because family mediators are experts in people, family mediators can help recognize and reconcile differences in values, temperament, family history, business outlook, financial knowledge, (or lack thereof) . The setting in mediation (rather than in litigation) greatly benefits the family and can result in transformation of family relationships.

Divorce and the Family Business

Divorce is an unfortunate reality of life. In the United States, about half of first marriages and over 60% of second marriages end in divorce. When a family member active in a family business divorces, there are financial and emotional implications and challenges, which can be complex. These can often be resolved through family mediation.

Family Mediation is an effective method to address the issues in control, buy-outs, and sharing of marital estate that arise in divorces. Mediation can help the family preserve relationships with the former in-law, who is likely to remain in relationship with the family for the rest of his/her life due to the presence of children. In face-to-face mediation sessions, the financial reports and information can be presented, understood, discussed, and evaluated. This can avoid a lengthy and costly valuation dispute that could end up in costly litigation personally damaging to family members.

Elder Issues

Families often find themselves in conflict over the care of an elderly parent. A parent or other elder family member may wish to remain independent, despite impairment to the elder’s decision-making capacity and ability to handle day-to-day household tasks. This can place great strain on the family relationships and elder planning becomes necessary.  Mediation is often chosen to assist with elder issues because:

  • Mediation allows multiple participants, possibly including the elderly family member, a safe forum to voice their wishes and concerns
  • A mediated resolution may avoid court involvement unless a guardianship or conservatorship is made part of the plan for specific reasons
  • Family members work together towards a practical solution that will meet the needs of the elderly family member
  • Post-mediation relationships between family members may be better sustained than in litigation
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