In many Georgia counties, courts have started to place an emphasis on couples at least trying to come to their own agreement before the case is brought to court. Individuals may seek mediation privately before filing any conflicts with the court, and can create legally binding decisions with signatures. If mediation is court-referred after the process has been entered into litigation, mediators are established to help resolve problems before a judge hears the case.
Mediation can include the development of a parenting plan regarding the most appropriate choices for child custody and visitation. Mediation can also help find solutions for spousal support among other things.
Instead of cases getting drawn out in litigation the use of mediation can lessen the burdens of time, expense and stress associated with heated court battles. Because mediators are not vested in either side, they are better able to view situations more objectively and may even offer potential solutions that the parties involved may not realize are available. The emotion brought to the table from divorcing couples can sometimes be blinding to other options.
Both parties, usually accompanied by their attorneys, meet with a third party mediator who negotiates a divorce resolution or resolution of any pending legal action. The mediator is unbiased and acts as an intermediary, making suggestions but never forcing either party to agree. Both sides have time to speak about any issues, clear up disputes and reach a mutual agreement. The process is also private, so no records or notes are kept of things said. The final agreement is the only thing remaining after the mediation is over.
To learn more or request assistance, please call Marsha Schechtman, LCSW at 770.753.4911 or Howard Drutman, Ph.D. at 678.867.7020 at the Atlanta Behavioral Consultants.