The core of all our programs is family mediation. We define a family as any group of people involved together in raising a child. We mediate all types of family matters, including parenting plans, legal separation and divorce, parental relocation, Child Welfare (such as when a parent can’t properly care for a child (due to problems like homelessness or substance abuse), and Eldercare.
Mediators are trained facilitators, who help parties find a mutually beneficial solution rather than having the court impose an order. Mediation reduces conflict, offers a better result, saves time, and avoids the emotional stress and expense of a trial. In most cases we all sit at the same table, and the mediator focuses the conversation on finding new solutions, and away from rehashing old hurts and familiar arguments. When needed, the parties may be placed in separate rooms, and may meet with a male and a female mediator team.
Meditation sessions are all conducted by Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Family Mediators; and adhere to the Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation. adopted by the Association of Family and Conciliatory Courts and the American Bar Association. For more information on mediation, our programs, or to see if you qualify for reduced fees or Pro Bono mediation, call (865) 535-0037 and speak to one of our expert mediators—it's free, confidential and there's no obligation.
Parenting Plan Mediation
Parenting Plan Mediation helps parents (never-married, separated, or divorced) resolve issues related to the care and custody of their children and design a Parenting Plan. A Parenting Plan is a road map for future parenting of the child for mothers and fathers who do not live together.
Parenting Plans focus on the child’s need to maintain a close, continuing relationship with both parents and their responsibilities to the child; rather than the dated concepts of “custody” and “visitation”. Mediators help parents design a plan that meets the needs of their children and specific situation. Once approved by the judge, it becomes a binding legal document. Parenting Plan mediation can be conducted in more than one session, allowing the parents to explore options and build trust in each other's abilities.
Child Welfare Mediation
Child Welfare Mediation is used when a child welfare agency or the court remove children from their homes due to abuse or neglect. The children in these cases have been placed with either a relative or in state custody. Mediation helps develop a case plan to "reunify" the family as soon as it is safe to do so or, if that is not possible, to find the most suitable permanent placement within the time periods established by federal and state law. The mediator also helps the parties and the court design an appropriate visitation plan for the family while the child is out of the home. The parties may discuss problems in implementing case plans and court orders. Parties may reach agreement to modify or ask that that the court modify, case plans. Mediation allows the parents to participate in decision-making and can make sure that they understand what they are required to do.
Military & Veteran Families Mediation Project
The Military Family Mediation Program helps divorced, separated, or never-married parents when one of them is facing a military deployment, or there are problems with readjustment after deployment or the return to civilian life. Specially trained mediators help the parents create a temporary Parenting Plan that adjusts parental duties and obligations, defines care providers during the deployment, outlines the means for maintaining communications with the service member, and modifies child support as needed. When the deployment is over, the existing parenting plan is restored. The parents can return to mediation, if desired, to resolve readjustment issues.
Order of Protection Mediation
This mediation service is used when a parent or child obtains an Order of Protection against a parent, and the parties are referred by the issuing judge. These cases are handled by mediators with special training in domestic violence. If accepted, a safety plan is designed and the mediator helps the parties design an agreement that provides for appropriate contact with and safe exchange of the children, and how the family living arrangements and finances will be managed during the time of the agreement. If approved by the judge, it becomes part of the Order of Protection. If the parents are married and plan to divorce, they may use the program to design a Permanent Parenting Plan.
Some children exhibit a pattern of disobedience, a combative attitude, behavior problems, falling grades, poor school attendance, missing homework, and frequent tardiness. Parent-Teen Mediation offers help to families when a child's behavior at home, in school, or in public becomes unmanageable or exhibits high-risk conduct. We make this service available to clients in our program for free, as resources allow.
Eldercare Mediation assists families in addressing issues concerning a elderly member’s care and aging. The process preserves the elder’s dignity and autonomy, while allowing his/her voice to be heard even in circumstances of limited capacity. Mediation allows everyone involved the opportunity to have a voice and share in the responsibility designing a care plan. Common topics include in-home care options, living environment, relocation, medical decisions, financial arrangements and money management, and end-of-life decisions.