Dr. Sanders is a Rule 31 Listed Family Mediator approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court to help parents resolve conflicts and develop a Parenting Plan. Tennessee law (TCA § 36-6-404) requires that a written Parenting Plan be submitted and approved by the court whenever couples wishing to divorce have children. The Parenting Plan specifies how decisions will be made affecting the children and time spent with each parent. A carefully crafted Plan ensures that both parents continue to play a vital role in their childʼs life and can go a long way in reducing or preventing future conflict. But reaching an agreement can be a challenging task for divorcing parents who are experiencing the natural pain, anger and frustration that often accompanies the dissolution of a marriage. Mediation can help.
Mediation is a voluntary, informal, and effective method of resolving disputes outside of court. Dr. Sanders will remain neutral and not take either parentʼs side. He will not judge you but will instead facilitate real communication, clarify the nature of your conflicts, help parents find common ground, and reach mutually agreeable solutions that work. As a clinical child and family psychologist with over 30 years of experience, Dr. Sanders can guide parents in meeting the developmental needs and best interests of their children. Legal advice is never given in mediation. Over 90% of Tennessee divorces are settled without ever going to Court and effective mediation is a big reason why.
Mediation has many advantages over going to court: it is quicker, less stressful, and costs a fraction of litigation. Mediation is all about self-determination. Parents voluntarily reach their own decisions, without coercion, rather than having a Parenting Plan imposed by a Judge who doesnʼt have the time to know your family well. When parents reach their own agreement, compliance to the plan is greatly increased by all family members.
Mediation allows you to finally get things off your chest, in private, rather than having your problems aired in open court for all to hear. Mediation is strictly confidential, subject to certain limitations mandated by Tennessee State Law. When an agreement is reached, Dr. Sanders will provide a written copy of the Parenting Plan which can serve as the basis for a court order. If parents cannot reach an agreement, they can still litigate, but Dr. Sanders cannot be subpoenaed to testify in court by either side.
Fees for Parenting Plan Mediation are $250.00 per hour, which includes time spent
writing the Parenting Plan. Appointments are scheduled at a 3 hour minimum. Healthcare insurance will not pay for mediation, since it is not considered medical treatment. Mediation costs are paid at the time of service and generally split by the parents. If parents are represented by counsel, their attorneys are strongly encouraged to participate in sessions or be available for phone consultation to provide legal advice to their client.
Dr. Sanders specializes in working with high conflict couples and special needs children. These families, as well as families where allegations of mental illness, abuse, neglect or alienation are present, may be better served by participating in Settlement-Focused Parenting Plan Consultation (SFPPC).