Family Mediation

Why should I choose Family Mediation?

No one wants to find themselves involved in a divorce or custody lawsuit, but the reality is that nearly half of all marriages will end in divorce.  If you find yourself in this position, choosing Family Mediation instead of going to court to ask a judge to make decisions for your family can help in many ways. 

What kinds of issues can be resolved through mediation?

Any dispute or disagreement can be resolved through mediation.  Families participate in mediation to avoid or resolve disputes related to division of assets and debts, child support and alimony, and parenting time schedules and other issues related to co-parenting children.  It is not necessary to have a pending court case in order to mediate.  You may decide to participate in mediation prior to filing your case and avoid the conflict escalation that can happen when one party rushes to file a lawsuit.  Your successful mediation will result in an agreement that you can file with the court at the beginning of the lawsuit, which will save tremendous amounts of time and money as compared to a litigated divorce.  In many post-divorce matters, mediation may be required prior to filing a lawsuit. 


How does Family Mediation work?

Both parties come together to discuss their disputes with the goal of finding solutions that will benefit the entire family.  Each party will be asked to listen to the other party with an open mind, and to consider and evaluate all reasonable solutions proposed by the other party.  As the mediator, I assist the parties in identifying and clarifying issues, evaluating all reasonable solutions, generating new potential solutions, and at all times keeping the discussion orderly, respectful and focused on the parties' common goals.  I do not act as a judge, and do not make decisions for the parties.  Instead, I facilitate the parties' ability to come together to make their own agreement.

Mediation should be considered prior to litigation in most domestic (family) cases with few exceptions.  Successful mediation early in the divorce process can save most divorcing families many thousands of dollars in attorney fees and litigation expenses, and the private, voluntary nature of the process is far less emotionally stressful to families experiencing divorce.  Most cases involving children will at some point involve an order for the parties to attend mediation, so it makes sense to make the investment in an attempt to resolve your issues prior to a lawsuit being filed whenever possible and practical. 

How much does Family Mediation cost?

In the big picture, a mediated family case will cost a fraction of a litigated matter.  This is simply because when the parties are able to resolve their disputes outside of court, it is not necessary to incur the potentially exorbitant costs associated with paying lawyers, experts, private investigators and others to prepare for trial.  Elizabeth Yarbrough Family Law & Mediation offers an affordable alternative.  My fees are generally divided equally between the parties unless other arrangements  have been agreed upon or ordered by the Court.  The normal rate is $125 per hour per party.  For families that need financial assistance, sliding scale reduced fees are available based upon the total verified family income.  Elizabeth Yarbrough Family Law & Mediation accepts cash, checks, and major credit cards.

How long does the Family Mediation process last?

Mediations are typically concluded within a matter of hours.  We normally start the session in the morning.  Depending on a number of factors, mediation can be completed in as few as two hours, or as many as ten.  Cases involving complicated financial issues, unusual family schedule demands, or highly emotional parties tend to take longer to resolve, however even a very difficult case can be resolved in one day.  If needed, additional sessions can be held.  Compare this to the long months it typically takes to conclude a family case when a judge must decide the issues, and it is easy to see that mediation can dramatically reduce the amount of time you must spend resolving your case.

Starting the Process

Many of our mediations are scheduled by lawyers who know Elizabeth in the legal community and choose her to help their clients resolve their cases.  Typically one of the lawyers will reach out to schedule the session having already obtained the availability of the other lawyer and both parties.  When the parties are not represented by lawyers, it may be a completely new concept to them and they have not coordinated their availability or even agreed to mediate or hire a certain mediator, so the first call is for the purpose of explaining the steps that need to be taken prior to scheduling the mediation:

1.  Agree to participate in mediation with a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 listed Family Mediator.

2.  Agree upon which Mediator to hire.

3.  Coordinate availability of the parties and Mediator and choose a mutually convenient date.

If either party is unsure about whether they want to participate in mediation, or has questions about mediating with Elizabeth, they may schedule a call to get more information before proceeding.