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I am a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Listed General Civil/Family Mediator, and am available to assist parties involved in a dispute related to either family or civil matters in reaching an agreement through a process of mediation (commonly known as an "out of court" settlement).

Mediation is defined by the Tennessee Supreme Court as "an informal process in which a neutral person conducts discussions among the disputing parties designed to enable them to reach a mutually acceptable agreement among themselves on all or any part of the issues in dispute."

Mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or "appropriate dispute resolution" conducted by an impartial facilitator, aims to actively engage the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable settlement to a dispute rather than having a settlement imposed by a third party such as a judge or jury. Mediation may involve (as parties in the process) organizations, communities, businesses, churches, individuals or other representatives with a vested interest in the outcome of the dispute.

Mediators are impartial (or “neutral”) professionals with the training and skill to foster effective communication between disputants with the goal of helping the parties reach an appropriate settlement of the disputed matter. Parties involved in a variety of disputes, such as commercial, legal, diplomatic, workplace, church, community and family matters, can use mediation as a means of reaching agreement rather than going to court.

Mediation differs from most other adversarial resolution processes by virtue of its simplicity, informality, flexibility, and economy; and commonly includes the following elements:

1) a controversy, dispute or difference of positions between people, or a need for decision-making or problem-solving
2) a decision-making process controlled by the disputants rather than imposed by a third party
3) the willing and active participation of the parties to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution to their dispute
4) the intent and personal commitment of each party to reach an agreement through the facilitative help of an independent, neutral third person

Why choose mediation?

  • Mediation is usually the least expensive route to dispute resolution. While a court case can take months or years to resolve, a case in mediation usually reaches resolution in a matter of hours.
  • What happens in mediation remains strictly confidential, while court hearings are very public. 
  • Mediation is the only method of dispute resolution in which the involved parties have complete control over the outcome. Thus, mediation is more likely to produce a result that is mutually agreeable, or “win/win,” for all parties.  
  • Because the resolution attained by the parties is mutually agreeable, compliance with the mediated agreement is usually high. The mediated agreement is, however, fully enforceable in a court of law. 
  • Since both parties are willing to work toward the goal of resolving the case, they are more likely to work with one another than against one another.
  • The mediator is trained to help the parties think "outside of the box" for possible solutions, empowering them to find ways to resolve the dispute that best suit their unique needs.

For more information about the mediation process or to discuss obtaining mediation services, contact me at (901) 229-2849 or lkoxford@bellsouth.net.