What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a process where you and your spouse meet with a neutral third party, called a mediator, to discuss and resolve the issues of your marriage without going to court. If both people are cooperative in negotiating their issues and reaching an agreement, mediation can be less stressful, take less time and cost less than a traditional divorce that is negotiated in court. Participating in divorce mediation is voluntary, meaning that your spouse cannot force you to enter mediation.
Is Divorce Mediation Legal in Georgia?
Divorce mediation is relatively new. Georgia courts recognize “private mediation” where a divorcing couple pays a divorce mediator to help them negotiate and settle their divorce out of court. Frequently both parties also hire their own divorce attorney who has mediation experience to protect their legal rights and advise them throughout the process.
If you are going to pursue divorce mediation, it is important to hire a divorce lawyer who understands and supports the mediation process.
5 FAQs About Divorce Mediation
1. What Is A Mediator?
A divorce mediator is a specially trained, neutral professional who is not a judge, who doesn’t work for either parent, and who cannot give advice to either party. The mediator must remain neutral throughout the divorce negotiations. Georgia requires that Domestic Mediators have:
- a B.A. or B.S. degree
- prior General/Civil Mediation training
- successful completion of an approved domestic mediation training program
- experience observing and co-mediating actual divorce disputes
- participated in an in-depth domestic violence educational workshop (recommended)
2. What Is Covered In Divorce Mediation?
The issues that are covered in a divorce mediation include the typical issues that must be resolved in divorce including:
- Distribution of Property
- Child Custody and Parenting Time
- Child Support/Maintenance
Mediators can meet with both parties together or separately, depending on the circumstances.
3. Is Divorce Mediation Legally Binding?
A divorce agreement created through mediation in Georgia is legally binding once both parties have signed the divorce decree. If the mediation divorce agreement is broken, it is treated as a broken contract in court.
4. How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?
Typically mediation takes considerably less time than divorce litigation because the couple already agrees on key issues, but need to negotiate and finalize specific concerns. While a very fast divorce mediation could happen in a matter of days if the couple is in agreement, most divorcing couples who successfully mediate their divorce will take weeks or even months, depending on the issues.
5. Does Divorce Mediation Always Work?
Unfortunately all couples who intend to mutually negotiate their divorce through mediation don’t succeed. If a couple cannot come to agreement, or one party chooses not to mediate, the couple can then pursue a collaborative divorce or a traditional divorce.
The attorneys at Brown & Dutton Law Firm are among the few in Georgia that are trained to handle alternative divorce cases, including divorce mediation. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, call (770) 422-4241 or email email@example.com.