Most divorce cases in Georgia do not go through the lengthy and costly process of a jury trial or a bench trial before a Superior Court judge. In fact, most divorce cases are resolved through agreement of both divorcing spouses either through themselves, their attorneys or through the use of a third-party mediator during the course of divorce mediation.
What is divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation is a structured process where divorcing spouses negotiate their own disputes through the use of a third party mediator instead of allowing the court system or a judge to decide their disputes. Mediation can resolve any divorce or family law issue such as how marital property should be divided or who should get physical custody of the divorcing spouses children.
Divorce mediation may be required — Many courts and jurisdictions require divorcing spouses to attempt mediation to try to resolve their case prior to scheduling their case for a court hearing. This is typically the case in larger metropolitan areas, such as Atlanta, where the courts and judges are often overloaded with heavy caseloads.
Even where not required, judges in any jurisdiction may order divorcing spouses to attempt to resolve their disputes through divorce mediation rather than through lengthy court hearings.
What is the goal of mediation?
The goal of mediation is to resolve all the issues and disputes between the divorcing spouses. In cases where all the issues cannot be resolved, mediation can narrow down the issues and disputes prior to any court hearings, saving time and money for each spouse by limiting the focus and issues in future court hearings.
Who is the divorce mediator?
In Georgia, the mediator is often an attorney who acts as a neutral third party communication bridge between the divorcing spouses and their attorneys. Mediators in Georgia must be certified in order to conduct mediations.
Typically, the mediator in divorce cases is an experienced attorney who also practices divorce and family law when not mediating cases. However, although the mediator is an attorney, the mediator does not, and cannot, act as legal counsel for either spouse.
The divorce mediator is usually agreed upon by both parties or ordered by the court.
How does divorce mediation work?
The divorcing spouses, their attorneys and the mediator may all meet together in one room or each side may be in separate rooms and the mediator meets with each side alone. The mediation shall continue back and forth until all issues and disputes are resolved or until it is apparent the two divorcing spouses are unable to resolve their disputes.
During the course of the mediation, the mediator attempts to keep the channels of communication open between the divorcing spouses and focused on the issues that need to be resolved rather than allowing the spouses to resort to arguing or name-calling.
How much does divorce mediation cost? How long does mediation take?
Costs vary depending on the mediator. Most mediators in Georgia charge an hourly fee for their services in addition to a minimum fee.The costs for the mediator is split between the two divorcing spouses. Additionally, divorcing couples will be required to pay their attorney for their services during the mediation.
Mediation can last from a few hours to all day. The parties can also attempt mediation more than once if they wish in order to resolve their issues or disputes.
Why use mediation?
Time. Money. Privacy.
Mediation can save valuable time by settling disputes quicker and ending the emotional toll of an prolonged divorce dispute. Additionally, because mediation can resolve disputes quicker, mediations save divorcing spouses from spending extra money towards the cost of extended courtroom litigation. Mediations also allow the two divorcing spouses to keep the majority of their private lives to remain private, whereas court hearings require the spouses “laundry to be aired in public.”
Is mediation only used in divorce cases?
No, mediation is regularly used in all types of family law cases when it is appropriate.
Mediation Requirements for Divorce Cases in Metro Macon
Each county or judicial circuit within the metro Macon area has different requirements as to whether mediation in divorce cases is required and when parties must engage in mediation. The following list details whether mediation is required and when it must be conducted.
- Baldwin County (Milledgeville, Georgia) – mediation is not required before a temporary divorce hearing or a final divorce hearing.
- Bibb County (Macon, Georgia) – mediation is required before a final divorce hearing, but not before a temporary divorce hearing.
- Houston County (Warner Robins, Georgia) – mediation is required before a final divorce hearing, but not before a temporary divorce hearing.
- Jones County (Gray, Georgia) – mediation is not required before a temporary divorce hearing or a final divorce hearing.
- Monroe County (Forsyth, Georgia) – mediation is required before a temporary divorce hearing.
- Putnam County (Eatonton, Georgia) – mediation is not required before a temporary divorce hearing or a final divorce hearing.
In addition to handling divorce mediations, attorney Ashley M. Brodie represents clients in divorce cases throughout the metro Macon, Georgia area. Call (478) 936-9842 or fill out the contact form to schedule a confidential consultation and get the divorce help you need.