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Divorce Mediation in Georgia

  • What is a divorce mediation and what is the process for mediation in Georgia?

    A divorce is a difficult and uncomfortable situation.  However, a significant amount of the process can be avoided by mediation. Mediation is a meeting between three parties. Two of the parties are the couple, and the other is an independent 3rd party named a mediator. The objective of mediation is to allow a couple to find a solution to their divorce without involving a federal court. Several counties in Georgia implement some form of alternative dispute resolution to allow men and women the ability to resolve their dispute and to come to an agreement. Many of the counties require men and women to attempt to mediate before they are allowed to appear in court. While the couples may not come to an agreement, they are still expected to try and reach a resolution outside of court.

    Why should couples attempt mediation?

    Mediation is an excellent process to set the terms of a divorce. A few reasons that mediation is better than a trial are:

    • Because it is the couple’s responsibility to decide on the condition, both parties are more likely to uphold the decisions made at the mediation.
    • A couple who does not resolve their differences in mediation will have a judge set their terms for their divorce. A judge is likely to have a different view of what is fair when compared to the couple.
    • Couples who can reach a decision out of court also often save time and money.
    • Mediation also allows a couple to avoid the significant amount of anxiety and stress that comes with presenting a case and leaving important life decisions in the hands of a judge.
    • Couples who find a solution in mediation are less likely to have a conflict later.

    Who are mediators and what is their role in mediation?

    Mediation must have a mediator. A mediator is an independent party that helps the couple find a solution. A mediator must have the following qualification:

    • A bachelor degree in art or science.
    • General and civil mediation training.
    • Practical experience such as observing or co-mediation other disputes.

    A mediator must also complete an approved domestic mediation training course. While not a required, it is highly suggested that divorce mediators take an in-depth workshop on domestic violence. To help couples find or create a solution to their dispute, a mediator may bring up certain topics to progress the conversation.

    What topics can the mediator cover?

    Couples may discuss any issues that pertain to their divorces, such as child support, child custody, alimony, and division of assets and debts. They are not forced to agree on the topics, but the mediator will encourage them to come to an agreement to avoid a judge’s decision. The mediator will also help them to find the solution that has the best result for their child or children and meets the child support standards of Georgia law. The couple can enter into any agreement that both parties find mutually acceptable regarding the division of their assets and debts and the payment of alimony.

    Private mediation versus court-referred mediation

    There are two different processes for divorce mediation in Alpharetta. A private mediation is when a couple hires a private mediator to aid them in finding a solution before they appear in court. Any agreement that the couple can come up with is signed by the two and becomes legally binding. If either party breaks the agreement, the agreement is considered to be a broken contract in court. The court may then enforce the terms that the parties agreed on.

    The other process in Georgia is called a court-referred mediation. Once the divorce is filed in court, the judge then refers the couple to mediation. Depending on the couple’s situation, the two parties may or may not have the legal representation of a consulting attorney to provide mediation advice. Agreements reached by the two sides in these types of mediations are legally binding. The court may enforce the terms, in the same manner, it would for a private mediation.

    Both forms of mediation are often a better alternative to allowing the Alpharetta divorce to go to trial. The chance to decide how these matters end is better than having to trust someone to make the decision for you. If you or someone you know is undergoing a divorce, contact our office. Our attorneys have the legal experience to aid you in your time of need.