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Is child support addressed during divorce mediation?

What is divorce mediation? It is a process through which spouses seeking to divorce attempt to negotiate a fair divorce agreement under the guidance of a mediator -- also called a neutral third party. Although the term uses the word divorce, mediation spans the entire family law arena. This means that it is certainly possible to address child support during these negotiations.

In Tennessee, the law requires that all family law issues undergo mediation in an effort to resolve the matter. Although mediation plays an important role in matters involving children, you and your spouse will ultimately be arranging your child support by mutual agreement if divorce mediation is successful.

There are many benefits to reaching a child support agreement through mediation, including:

  • Relaxed and more cordial environment
  • No courtroom negotiations
  • Ability to address conflicts or disputes privately
  • Reduced stress for parents and for children
  • The option to have an attorney present to protect your interests

Of course, a judge must give your child support agreement his or her seal of approval, but in most cases, judges are more than happy to let parents settle child-related matters between each other. Even better, a successful divorce mediation in which you and your spouse are able to make decisions together sets you up for success as co-parents going forward.

Finally, do not believe the myth that divorce mediation leaves you legally unprotected. On the contrary, with your family law attorney watching your back, you may be even more protected than you would be in a litigated divorce. During mediation, your lawyer has only your and your kids' best interests at heart.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Support by Agreement," accessed May 16, 2018

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