Mediation in Tennessee

Another way to resolve disputes

Content taken from the Tennessee Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission and edited by the law firm of Papa & Roberts, PLLC

What is Mediation? Mediation Defined

Mediation is a voluntary settlement process used in dispute resolution.

Mediation is defined as an informal process in which a mediator helps those involved in a dispute, reach agreement. The mediation process identifies critical issues, clarifies misunderstandings, explores resolutions, and negotiates a settlement.

The role of a Mediator

The mediator is commonly referred to as a judge, yet such reference is a misconception. The mediator is not a judge and does not make a decision or dictate a solution regarding the dispute. Rather, the mediator facilitates resolution by helping those involved in the dispute discuss the issues with each other, thereby allowing them to resolve the dispute themselves. The mediator manages the mediation session and remains impartial.

How does the mediation process work?

During the mediation session each person involved in the dispute presents a summary of his/her point of view. If one party has an attorney, he or she may go with that party to the session, if desired. The mediator meets with everyone together and may opt to meet individually with each side. This method offers participants the opportunity to communicate their interests to the mediator and vent anger or frustrations outside the opposing side's presence. The mediator will work with each person until an agreement is reached that is acceptable to everyone. The agreement is documented and signed by the people involved, with the advice of their legal counsel.

How long does mediation last?

The time required for the mediation process varies. It depends on the complexity of the dispute and

the concerns of those involved. Meeting with the mediator more than once is common.

Who pays the costs of mediation?

The mediation cost is shared equally by the parties involved unless agreed otherwise. Each party should be informed in advance of the mediator's charges and when payment is due.

Which types of disputes can be mediated?

  • Divorce & Family
  • Neighbor & Community
  • Business
  • Consumer
  • Employer & Employee
  • Landlord / Tenant
  • Negligence
  • Juvenile
  • Product Liability
  • Environmental
  • Contracts
  • Personal and Real Property
  • Construction
  • Other Civil Matters

What are the benefits of using a mediator?

  • Parties keep control over the resolution of their own problems.
  • Disputes can be settled quickly. A mediation session can be scheduled as soon as all parties agree to use mediation, even before a lawsuit may be filed.
  • Mediation expenses are significantly less than taking a case to court.
  • Mediation promotes better relationships via cooperative problem-solving and improved communication.
  • Mediation is private and confidential.
  • Mediation is voluntary; although a judge may order a case to go to mediation, the mediation may be terminated at any time by the people involved or by the mediator. Settlement is also entirely voluntary. If either party cannot reach an agreement, he/she still has the right to take the dispute before a judge or jury.

The Tennessee Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission is located at 511 Union Street, Suite 600 Nashville, TN 37219 Phone: (615) 741-2687 Fax: (615) 741-6285

This document, based on TN law, is issued to inform and not to advise. This document is published by the:

In April 1998

Submit a Tennessee mediation inquiry to the law firm of Papa and Roberts

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