Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is often effective in family law matters. In divorce actions, Georgia courts usually order the parties to mediation before they go to trial.
When you have a family law conflict that you cannot resolve on your own, mediation could be an attractive option. A Marietta mediation lawyer can help you create a solution that will work for you rather than allowing the judge to impose their decision on you. Speak to our seasoned family attorneys to learn more about your legal options.
In a divorce proceeding, mediation could help a couple resolve matters related to property division, alimony, child custody, visitation, and child support. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 19-5-1 authorizes judges to order disputing couples to try mediation before scheduling a final trial.
However, couples are wise to consider mediation before they file for divorce. A couple that agrees on property division, alimony, and issues regarding their minor children could file for an uncontested divorce and avoid going to court. Whether you and your spouse decide to try mediation to resolve outstanding issues before you file for divorce or a judge has sent you to mediation before trial, the process has multiple benefits.
Working with a Marietta mediation attorney is less expensive than each party hiring legal representation to negotiate a divorce settlement. If both individuals have been working with attorneys on a litigated divorce, settling outstanding issues with a mediator could avoid the need for a trial. Trials require many hours from the attorneys and support staff to prepare and present evidence and witnesses. Resolving the divorce before a trial could save the couple thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees.
When spouses file for a contested divorce, the divorce petition is a public document. Similarly, if a divorce must go to trial, it is usually open to the public. In contrast, mediation is completely confidential. The assurance of confidentiality could be especially important to someone with substantial assets, sensitive business dealings, or who operates in the public arena.
The most important benefit of mediation is that the parties retain complete control. The couple decides what is right and workable for their family. When a judge determines issues like child custody or property division, one or both parties might feel the decision is unfair, which often turns out to be unworkable. When the spouses decide, even if they do not get everything they want, both parties typically leave the process feeling it was fair.
A Marietta mediation attorney is trained to be a neutral facilitator for parties in conflict. Although the mediator may be an attorney, they do not give legal advice to either participant. Both individuals could have their attorneys with them during the mediation to provide legal advice and explain the implications of their decisions.
Mediation typically occurs in the attorney’s office. Often times a mediator conducts the meeting remotely. During the process, both parties will likely not be in the same room with the mediator.
The session length will vary based on the couple’s needs. Sometimes, reaching an agreement takes multiple sessions. When spouses find a consensus on one or more of their outstanding issues, the mediator will formalize the agreement in writing. Each person should have their divorce attorney attend mediation with them.
When spouses agree on all the issues they must resolve, they can submit their mediated agreements to the Georgia family court. The court will review them and ensure that any agreements related to children support the children’s best interests. If the judge approves the agreements, they will be incorporated into a divorce decree with the force of a court order.
If the couple cannot agree on all issues, a Marietta mediation attorney can develop an agreement on the things they settled but report to the family court that specific details remain outstanding. The court will schedule a trial and decide the remaining issues.
When you are going through a divorce, trying mediation makes good sense. If the process is successful, the judge could issue your divorce decree without a lengthy and stressful court battle.
If you seek a peaceful dissolution of your marriage, a Marietta mediation lawyer can help. Call our firm today for more information.