ATLANTA ATTORNEYS SKILLED IN GUIDING INDIVIDUALS THROUGH FAMILY LAW MATTERS
Mediation is used in many contexts as an alternative to adversarial litigation in court. In divorce, it is one way that spouses can resolve disputed issues. In some Georgia counties, family courts may even require mediation as a prerequisite to bringing any divorce proceeding before a judge. If you would like to find out more about this process, knowledgeable family law lawyers at Rowsey & Stelter can assist you. Many Atlanta residents have come to us because of our extensive experience in these matters. We have assisted individuals in Roswell, Milton, Johns Creek, and other communities in Cobb, Fulton, and DeKalb Counties.
MEDIATION FOR DISSOLVING A MARRIAGE
Divorcing spouses must make decisions regarding many matters, including division of marital assets, spousal support (alimony), child custody, and child support. While some couples may be able to work out a suitable agreement between themselves on some or most of these issues, they may have disagreements in other areas. One way they can try to resolve their disagreements is through mediation.
This is a process in which divorcing couples work with an impartial third party to try to reach an agreement. The mediator’s job is not to impose a solution on a couple based on his or her judgment of what is fair or right, but rather to facilitate the ability of the couple to reach a satisfactory resolution of their dispute on their own. To this end, mediators do not act as referees or advocates for any particular side or point of view. Instead, they are trained to assist spouses in resolving disagreements by acting as neutral advisors.
Mediators must meet high standards of ethics and conduct. A mediator will help spouses to avoid acrimony or emotionalism in their dealings, assist them in communicating, explain and help them formulate options, and keep them focused on reaching a sound resolution, while at the same time making sure that any proposed arrangement conforms with Georgia legal requirements. The goal of mediation is to help couples to craft their own divorce agreement, which, once signed, becomes a binding contract between them that can be enforced in court.
Mediation differs significantly from litigation. The choice of mediator is up to the divorcing spouses, not assigned by the court, so they can choose someone upon whom they mutually agree. Furthermore, unlike a court hearing, the parties can arrange to meet at times and places that are convenient for all involved. Finally, if the spouses are still unable to reach agreement through mediation, they retain the option of presenting their dispute to the court for resolution.
When mediation succeeds, it often has beneficial results. It is usually less expensive and more expeditious than litigation. Also, mediation is completely confidential, since it involves private negotiation rather than a public court record. This process encourages couples to communicate and work together to resolve important issues, even when personal animus exists. The parties are afforded the opportunity to voice their concerns without the formalities of court procedure. Finally, couples are more likely to conform their behavior to terms with which they voluntarily agree—even after intense negotiation—than they would be if the terms were forced upon them by an outside third party, such as a judge.
CONSULT A DIVORCE LAWYER TO RESOLVE A DISPUTE IN ATLANTA
Even in mediation, an attorney can represent and advocate for you. Legal assistance can be critical in protecting your interests. Your attorney can help you understand all the relevant standards and prepare your case so that you will be able to present your side of the dispute in a persuasive light. At the mediation, your attorney can act as an additional buffer between you and your estranged spouse. The assistance of a lawyer also may help ensure that any agreement reflects your needs and wishes. If you need advice or representation regarding the mediation process, you can contact our office at (770) 993-5317. Alternately, you can use our online form to set up a free initial consultation.