Family law matters, like divorce or child custody arrangements, can be contentious, but they do not have to be. In many circumstances, mediation can be a viable option for reaching agreements.
Mediation, also known as alternative dispute resolution, is a negotiation and settlement process that takes place without a court trial. A neutral party helps the couple come to amicable agreements about issues like property division and custodial arrangements. Even though mediation is not an adversarial process, having a Sandy Springs mediation lawyer on your side during the proceedings can help ensure you reach a fair and legally valid deal.
While going to Georgia family court for divorce, custody, and support hearings can be the most beneficial solution for some couples, mediation may be a more appropriate avenue for others. Mediation is most effective when a couple agrees on most of the terms of their pending separation. Couples with few shared financial assets, for example, may find it easier to agree on how to divide their property.
The key difference between going to court and mediation is that a hearing is generally an adversarial process, while mediation is more collaborative. A hearing is more appropriate when there are key legal issues in dispute during a family law case. Each person must present a legal argument to convince the judge to order in their favor.
This form of alternate dispute resolution involves a qualified mediator who, rather than representing one side, works equally with both people so they can come to an agreement about the legal considerations in divorce and custody cases. A mediator does not make decisions or judgments for you but instead guides you as you make your own choices.
In Sandy Springs, mediators are not required to be attorneys. However, the mediation process only creates the agreement you want to apply to your divorce. It will need to be filed with the family court in order to be finalized and enforceable. Non-lawyer mediators do not always assist with this step of the process, whereas an attorney-mediator can handle this procedure on the couple’s behalf.
The laws that govern mediation in Sandy Springs come from the Georgia Uniform Mediation Act. A major element of alternative dispute resolution in Georgia is confidentiality. Regulations require conversations to stay private between both sides, their legal representation, and the mediator. There are few exceptions to this confidentiality, including you or the other person waiving the confidentiality privilege. Under specific circumstances, mediation communications can be used as evidence in a trial. If mediation conversations include evidence of a crime, for example.
Each spouse can have their own mediation attorney. Having the support of a lawyer can help the couple ensure that the agreements they make are fair and legally enforceable. A Sandy Springs mediation attorney’s job is not to turn the meeting into an adversarial confrontation but instead helps the couple keep their rights and interests in mind as they negotiate. They can also review and file the appropriate documentation with the court to have your agreement authorized.
Mediation can be a faster process than a divorce or custody hearing, which makes it appealing to couples who qualify. But it is important to note that a mediation agreement is not legally binding until it has been submitted to, and approved by, a Georgia court. Working with a Sandy Springs mediation lawyer as your mediator or as your own personal representation can secure the legality of your agreement, as well as ensuring that the agreement is fair to your needs. Reach out to the Atlanta Divorce Law Group today to begin reviewing your options.