Mediationcouple in mediation session

Not only are our attorneys qualified to represent clients in mediation, but Nick Rice is also a Rule 31 certified mediator. He brings the same attention to detail and passion for results when serving as a mediator that he does when serving as a litigator because he believes mediation is an important part of divorce and family law.

Mediation is an opportunity to make the best of a bad situation. In Tennessee, almost all divorces are required to attend mediation. Mediation is an avenue to calm the parties, save attorney fees, and allows the parties to make decisions on issues such as parenting, property division, or child support. These are unique to each family, rather than leaving those decisions in the hands of the court.

The legal system is an adversarial one. When a matter goes to trial, the parties speak through their attorneys to a judge. The judge then interprets the facts admitted into evidence, in light of relevant law, and makes decisions which will affect the parties’ lives, their children, and their property. In mediation, the parties speak with the mediator and their attorneys in an attempt to facilitate resolution. Overall anxiety is lessened when the parties are allowed to come to a decision on the issues themselves rather than abdicating this role to the court.

When custody issues go to trial, each side is fighting over parenting time by accusing the other parent of bad acts and poor parenting. At the end of a divorce, by trial or settlement, the court is going to tell the parties to go forward and co-parent. While co-parenting is best for the children, the ability to successfully co-parent is reduced by waging character warfare in the public record, which is what most parenting litigation is. Successful post-divorce parenting is more likely to happen when mediation is successful. In successful mediation the parties exercise the skills of co-parenting by making joint decisions about their children rather than fighting over their children.

Trial is an expensive process. There are weeks, if not months, of preparation followed by days, if not weeks, of trial. During these weeks of preparation and trial time, the attorneys and staff for both parties’ will be concentrated on this one divorce case. All of the fees are coming out of the same pot, the marital estate. It is in the parties’ best interest to divide a larger marital estate rather than divide a depleted one after trial fees.

In order to have successful mediation, you need three things from your attorney: 1) understanding of your goals, 2) realistic advice, and 3) preparation.

Some attorneys resort to making unwarranted promises of riches and revenge in order to obtain divorce clients. This practice promotes litigation since it is nearly impossible to settle a case with unrealistic expectations. When divorce attorneys provide sound advice, the clients have the basis necessary to accurately address problems and resolve their case.

Many attorneys perform little to no advance work for mediation. Rather than working with you to identify and divide the marital estate and develop a workable Parenting Plan, they simply appear at mediation and begin to formulate offers on the fly. Unprepared attorneys can stall or, in some cases, derail mediation. Prepared attorneys are focused on getting the snowball of settlement rolling and keeping it rolling.

When our office prepares for mediation, we prepare as if going to trial. We often start with a notebook. The notebook contains information such as fault facts, the parties’ income, and assets. We then include a Marital Balance Sheet that sets out the assets showing marital or separate property, the values thereof, as well as the proposed distribution and other information as appropriate. We then follow with a Proposed Parenting Plan and a Marital Dissolution Agreement. Some lawyers bring a laptop to mediation. We bring a laptop and portable printer because it is our desire to negotiate the documents as we go along, so by the end of the day, if the case is settled, we have the documents ready for the parties to sign. Just like trial, things do not always go as envisioned. Mediation does not have to be completed in a day, but we have found better preparation tends to produce better results in mediation, just like in trial.

Contact Nick for mediation at (901) 425-1274,

Below is an article regarding the psychological aspect of mediation Nick Rice found interesting.

http://www.americanjournalofmediation.com/docs/Avoiding%20Pitfalls%20-%20Common%20Reasons%20for%20Mediation%20Failure%20and%20Solutions%20for%20Success.pdf

Rice Divorce Law

With more than 75 years of collective experience, our award-winning legal team is dedicated to helping clients understand their divorce options and approach them in an informed way.

  • “His integrity, preparation, and support made the best of a very sad situation. Highly competent, Intelligent and tenacious.”

    Steve

  • “He explained every little step and guided me through that difficult time, giving me solid, sensible advice all the while.”

    Mary

  • “Nick made every effort to work out my case at the lowest cost and time possible.”

    Angie

  • “He helped me navigate through a difficult divorce with crazy paperwork and a harsh judge.”

    Dawn H.

  • “I am grateful that I had Larry to help me through that challenging period of my personal life.”

    Former Client

  • “They always made time for me and made me feel like a priority.”

    Nancy

  • “Mr. Rice was so helpful and his staff was superb!”

    Previous Client

  • “I hope I never need a attorney, but if I do, I will only call Larry Rice.”

    Tony N.

  • “Nick and his team did the in depth research and created a game plan that resulted in a successful conclusion of this case.”

    Phil

  • “Things went very smoothly. He undid the damage caused by the first attorney.”

    Ronnie

  • “Nick really does care about the best interest of his clients.”

    Jonathan F.

  • “Integrity at every turn.”

    Jane T.

  • “They get results!”

    Robert L.

  • “I called Larry and I’m glad I did.”

    Carl

  • “He was totally objective and allowed me to diverge from the "normal or customary" lawyerly path.”

    Steve

Rice Divorce Team - On Your Side

  1. We wrote the book on divorce practice and are recognized by other attorneys as the standard in divorce and family law.
  2. Three generations of family law experience, focused on your case
  3. Certified Family Law Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy
  4. Highly Awarded and Specifically Qualified Legal Team
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