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Mediate first, litigate if needed -- That is the Tennessee way

Are you getting ready to file for divorce? Are you afraid of the litigation process? Thankfully, in Tennessee, couples who want to dissolve their marriages must try mediation before litigating the matter.

What is mediation? How long does it take? What if we have complex assets or child care needs?

Mediation is...

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method. It requires that you and your spouse meet with a mediator in a neutral location to negotiate the terms of your divorce. The mediator cannot pick sides. He or she is simply there to facilitate the proceedings. One is not required to have legal counsel present during the mediation sessions, though allowing an attorney to review any agreed-upon terms is wise before anything becomes official.

How many sessions does it take to finalize everything?

The answer to this is different for every couple. Some can come to acceptable terms in just a few short sessions. Then there are others who find themselves negotiating for much longer periods of time. It all depends on how much each party is willing to give and how complicated their marital issues are.

While some may not believe it, mediation can work for complex divorce cases. It is all about the give and take and willingness to negotiate. Couples can turn to legal counsel and other professionals to help them with the tough decisions, such as how to divide certain assets, setting up child support and/or alimony, and creating flexible custody arrangements -- among others.

As soon as a couple reaches an agreement, that is when progress is made. After having legal counsel review the settlement to make sure it is fair and actually serves the interests of both parties, a judge will have to give it final approval. This process may not take long unless a judge rejects the agreement.

What if mediation does not produce desirable results?

If mediation is not getting you anywhere and no divorce agreement is in sight, you may try to litigate the matter. It may not be ideal, but sometimes it is the only way to finish the process and move on from the relationship. 

Whether you can work things out through mediation or your case requires litigation, an experienced divorce attorney can help you achieve a fair and balanced settlement.

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Law Office of Sam Byrd
3828 Dayton Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37415

Phone: 423-954-7949
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