What is Mediation?

Mediation is a legal term often heard in discussions surrounding family law, but is is simply a form of dispute resolution. It is a way in which the parties negotiate with the help of a mediator in the hopes of reaching agreement on issues outside the courtroom. Mediation is generally voluntary and parties choose whether to go or not. Mediation is also a collaborative environment in which both sides work together to come to a solution. Mediation is therefore useless if both parties are not actively participating. It is important to know that mediations are entirely confidential and are solely between the parties and the mediators. Therefore, nothing from mediation can be discussed outside of those parties unless a final agreement is reached and agreed upon.

Why would anyone go to Mediation?

First, sometimes in Georgia the court will require the parties to at least try their hand at mediation. Georgia courts will often require that the parties try mediation in most family law cases such as divorce and child custody, but they will not require the parties to come to an agreement, only to make a good faith attempt to resolve issues. However, even if you are not forced, going to mediation might be beneficial to your case. A couple can choose to voluntarily engage in mediation before or after the case has been filed. Sitting down with a mediator can help you and your attorney learn more about your case and understand what some possibilities are, even if no agreement is reached. You can also learn more about what the other party is thinking. The mediation will allow you to see inside their argument and better prepare yourself if there is a trial to come. It might also give you more bargaining power. Mediators themselves can often be helpful as well. Generally, mediators are highly experienced in family law issues and may be able to offer insight into the situation to allow for a smoother negotiation.

What will happen in mediation?

Generally, there are two ways to go through divorce: court litigation or a licensed mediator, such as a family law attorney. Mediation is a process that can resolve all or some of the issues. In other words, mediation can result in agreement upon one issue, many issues, all issues, or none. At mediation, every party has the right to have an attorney with them and supporting their side of the mediation. It can be important to have an attorney as your ally in these proceedings. Not only will it provide you with someone who is experienced in these matters, but it is also more likely to produce an agreement at the end of the day. Additionally, it means you are more likely to end up with an agreement that you both understand and are comfortable with, rather than one you feel you are unsure about in some way.

What about you?

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce or a custody dispute, or is considering going through one of them, it is important that you know your rights and options and have an experienced attorney on your side. Our office might be able to help you assert those rights and are prepared to go into mediation with you if necessary, armed with the experience and knowledge necessary to come to the best agreement possible.