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.

Parent-Child Mediation

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

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.

The above video and a complete series on mediation is hosted on the Indiana Court website