May 7, 2012

So, can mediation really help my family?

           One of the trends that appears to be with us to stay is mediation.  Mediation is becoming more and more favored by the Court systems as an alternative to a trial.  Statistically speaking, 85% of cases whose outcomes are determined by the Judge, and not the parties, are back in court seeking to modify that order. 

            Mediation is a voluntary process that is governed by a third-party neutral who assists the parties in creating a solution that the parties can live with.   The value comes from the fact that the parties actually create the agreement and craft it for what works for their set of particular facts and circumstances.    The ultimate value is that the parties usually meet in the middle and the parties leave the mediation feeling as though they have been heard....and protected by the process. 

         Mediation is effective for a variety of reasons, first, people are more likely to cooperate and abide by a plan if they feel they had some ownership and a voice in it, rather than it being ordered by the Court.  Second, mediation allows for creative solutions to individual problems, in mediation you have the freedom to think “outside the box”.  Third, in mediation individuals are forced to come together and form an agreement; which lends greater likelihood that they will continue to work together.

          Trials are usually long, painful and messy procedures.  In trials, attorneys who are competently doing their job have to magnify everything the opposing party has done and every mistake they have ever made.  This entire process sets parties up for a difficult relationship following trial.   Difficult relationships are fine if it is a car accident or some other such civil matter in which the parties do not have to interact.  However, in family matters, it is difficult to repair the damage done to the relationship of the parties during a trial. 

       An effective mediator should be a good listener, an experienced attorney and be compassionate.  We currently have two mediators who are listed as Rule 31 Mediators with the State of Tennessee; Patti B. Garner and Patty L. Stolinsky.


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