Mediation is commonly used in Tennessee to help resolve divorce issues including division of your property, the custody of your children, alimony, and child support. Mediation is considered a friendlier way to resolve disputes than litigation. Mediation is also less expensive and often takes less time than litigation. The mediation sessions are run by a neutral third person who is chosen by you and your spouse.
Even though mediation is less formal than litigation, it is still essential that you work with an experienced family lawyer to prepare for the mediation. Effective preparation helps you prioritize and meet your goals. It helps expedite the process so that you need fewer sessions. Preparation also helps you identify all of your interests and those of your spouses.
Common ways to prepare for divorce mediation in Tennessee
At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we help you prepare for the divorce mediation in the following ways:
Helping you understand the mediation process
First and foremost, we review with you how mediation works. Mediators generally talk to each spouse and their lawyer in separate rooms. It’s only when a mediator feels that there is likely to be an agreement or that there is a need to have a discussion – that the mediation session includes everyone. It’s also important to understand that you may not resolve every issue in the first mediation session.
Ensuring that your finances are in order, so we can find a mutually beneficial outcome
It’s essential for all the financial aspects of your divorce – like property division, alimony and child support – that you identify all the marital property, all the debts and liabilities of you and your spouse, your income, your spouse’s income, and other related financial issues. We help clients by going over a checklist of common assets such as your home, your business, retirement accounts, checking accounts, savings accounts, investment accounts, jewelry, personal possessions, vehicles, and other assets. We review how you have these assets titled: whether in your name, your spouse’s name, or in both names. We discuss with you which assets are important for you to keep such as the marital home and which assets you may want to exchange in order to keep the assets that you want.
We will review your income and your spouse’s income by having you produce copies of your tax returns, your W-2s and pay stubs, and any profit and loss statements or other financial statements that may document the income you earn from the business. To the extent that we can ahead of time, we also review your spouse’s income.
An examination of your debts begins with your secured debts such as a mortgage or a car loan. We also review your credit card bills, your medical expenses, loans, and other debts that are either in your name, your spouse’s name, or in both names.
Child support is dictated by Tennessee’s guidelines, but there are always exceptions to the rules. If you or your spouse has significant assets, we can discuss how you plan to address your children’s needs now and in the future if you wish to move beyond what the guidelines require.
Anticipating your spouse’s position to better fortify yours
To the extent you are able, it is necessary to identify your spouse’s priorities and how he or she may respond to claims that you make regarding your financial interests – and also claims concerning the type of custody and visitation agreement your spouse might be willing to consider.
Reviewing areas of contention, and creating new options
It helps to know how your spouse may respond to certain claims. If he or she likely to respond in a negative way, it helps to understand how you’ll respond. Mediation works better if you can minimize any emotional conflict and behavioral conflict so you can focus on achieving the best financial security for you and your children and the best custody or visitation arrangement for you and your children.
If your children are older, then you should speak with them about their concerns and preferences. You should also understand that it may be necessary to speak with child psychologists to understand what’s best for your children.
At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we have represented numerous spouses in divorce mediation, collaborative divorce, and divorce litigation. We have achieved the respect of our clients and the family law community because we pay attention to all the small details and understand the many practical ways to resolve divorce conflicts, while also being strong advocates for your rights. We see family law clients in our Tennessee locations in Franklin, Columbia, and Brentwood. Please call our office at 615-977-9370 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment.