Nashville Attorney Lisa Ewing


Mediation and collaborative divorce are popular alternatives to court litigation, and may offer couples several benefits when getting divorced.

Although traditional court divorce works for some Tennessee couples, it is not the ideal way to dissolve a marriage for others. Fortunately, couples seeking a divorce have several options when it comes to terminating their marriage. Mediation and collaborative divorce have increased in popularity through the years as a civil alternative to traditional court litigation. Rather than suffering through a lengthy and emotional battle to the finish, couples are able to discuss the details of their divorce, including division of assets and child custody, in a non-confrontational way. Not only do these alternative divorce options lead to better results for many couples, but they are a great way to keep up with the significant number of divorces that occur in the United States each year.

Mediation vs. collaborative law

Although mediation and collaborative law are similar in many ways, they have distinguishable differences. According to the Huffington Post, mediation sessions take place under the direction and guidance of a neutral mediator. It is important for each spouse to have their attorney present during mediation as the mediator may not offer legal advice. The mediator ensures that all topics are covered during the negotiations process.

If an agreement is reached, it is important that the agreement be drafted by an attorney so that it will be approved by the court and so that it will be enforceable by either party. The mediator ensures that all topics are covered during the negotiations process.

During a collaborative divorce session, each party has an attorney present to offer legal counsel throughout the negotiations process. According to Think Advisor, the couple is prompted to sign a document agreeing to disclose all important information and to work together in creating a negotiated settlement that will benefit everyone involved. If the couple is unable to come to an agreement and litigation is required, then they must both retain different attorneys.

Advantages to divorce alternatives

Mediation and collaborative divorce are not for everyone. In fact, couples that harbor hostile feelings toward one another and are unable to discuss the terms of the settlement in a professional manner should not enter into these types of negotiation sessions. However, people who wish to simplify the divorce process may enjoy the benefits of mediation and collaborative divorce. According to the American Bar Association, these advantages include:

  • Faster: Many couples can negotiate the terms of their settlement in as little as one or two sessions depending on the complexity of the case.
  • Flexibility: Couples are able to schedule the negotiation sessions around their personal calendar, rather than wait for an appointed court date.
  • Customized: Couples have the ability to design their own settlement based upon their needs rather than leave the details of their divorce in the hands of a court appointed judge; however, agreements involving children must be reviewed by judge and the judge must determine that the agreement is in the best interest of the child(ren).
  • Increased compliance: Studies show that couples are more likely to comply with the terms of the settlement when they have had a role in creating the divorce decree.
  • Non-formal atmosphere: Mediation and collaboration take place in a laid back environment, which often decreases the amount of stress placed on each party.

Studies also show that couples who successfully complete mediation or collaborative divorce have a better relationship with one another than they would have had they gone through court litigation. This is especially helpful for parents and business partners.

Finding legal help

Whether you choose one of these alternative divorce options or decide to litigate in court, an attorney in Tennessee is essential. Going through a divorce can be overwhelming and some people are unable to make clear and concise decisions regarding their settlement during this emotional time.

Keywords: divorce, mediation, litigation