How to Choose Between Litigation and Mediation

Understanding the use and benefits of each process

Divorce is a deeply personal process. In some cases, divorcing spouses can benefit from having an opportunity to work out their issues in a private and informal setting. Mediation provides this type of opportunity and, for that reason, is a required part of the Tennessee divorce process. However, to be effective, mediation requires good faith and willingness to compromise on both sides. When this is lacking, litigation offers the parties the chance to resolve their family law matter in court. At Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC, we believe that both processes have an important role to play, and our team of attorneys has years of experience in both mediation and litigation.

Benefits to mediation

There are several reasons mediation can be beneficial to parties going through a divorce:

  • Mediation is private — While everything that occurs in court is usually public record, mediation is a private matter between the parties, their attorneys and the mediator. Typically, anything said in mediation is inadmissible in court, so the parties are free to express their concerns without prejudicing themselves later.
  • Mediation can be faster — Litigation can require multiple court hearings often scheduled months apart. However, mediation can happen on your own timeline, as it is not beholden to the court’s busy calendar.
  • Mediation can be cheaper — Because mediation is less formal and usually less time-consuming than litigation, it often means lower attorney fees.
  • Mediation is collaborative — For sensitive issues, such as child custody, mediation is the perfect opportunity for the parties to work together to craft an arrangement that they truly feel is in the best interest of his or her children. This is often preferable to the winner-take-all resolutions common in litigated cases.

Required mediation in Tennessee divorces

Because of the benefits mediation can offer in many cases, Tennessee law requires it in most divorce and child custody matters. Frequently, even parties previously dead-set on having their day in court can be surprised by their ability to find common ground during this process. While it is smart to try to make the most of any opportunity to settle your case, there is no need to feel pressured if you do not believe that the other party is negotiating in good faith or if you just can’t reach an agreement that you can live with. If mediation does not settle your case, our attorneys at Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC will not hesitate to take your case to court.

Call us today to start building your divorce or child custody strategy

At Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC, we understand that effective mediation requires both parties to come to the table in good faith. When that doesn’t happen, our attorneys are always ready to go to trial to get fair results for our clients. On Woodland Street in historic Edgefield, our Nashville office is within sight of the courthouse and offers free parking. Call us today at 615-391-4200 or contact us online to schedule an in-person or video consultation with an experienced attorney.