The Tennessean newspaper recently reported on a case in which a divorce mediator was sued for failing to maintain impartiality. The mediator allegedly instructed the Husband involved in the divorce case to file a restraining order against the Wife as well as how to retain copies of all email correspondence between the two parties and then to disseminate them to Wife's family in an attempt to shame and/or embarrass Wife into ceasing contact with Husband.
The Husband did indeed seek a restraining order in Knox County, where he resided, which was ordered by the Court but Wife claims she was never served with that Order. Husband also took out a criminal warrant against Wife in Nashville. Wife was then arrested in January of 2011, but has filed a complaint against the police department related to that arrest. The Order of Protection, originally issued in Knox County, was dismissed by a Judge in Davidson County.
Due to the alleged malpractice chain of events, Wife claims in her civil suit against the mediator that the malpractice set off a "domino effect" that resulted in the events described above, including her arrest. The suit asks for five million dollars in damages for each individual act of malpractice , emotional distress and breach of contract. The mediator was officially sanctioned earlier this year but can continue mediating divorces in Tennessee.
Every contested divorce in Tennessee that does not reach a settlement within six months of the initial filing must go to mediation per state statute. Although the parties are not required to reach an agreement, they are required to participate in good faith. When a mediator is not impartial, the outcome of some very important issues can be affected, from distribution of the marital estate to co-parenting plans. Therefore, also ensure that your divorce attorney is familiar with your mediator.
Click here for the full article from The Tennessean.