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What is mediation in Georgia family law?

We've previously touched on many parts of the divorce process in the state of Georgia, from the initial filing, to service, to some of the standards that are used when a case reaches the trial court. We have also discussed the fact that it is often in the parties' interests to come to agreement on those issues where it is possible to do so, to cut down on both the financial and emotional expenses of litigation. One way to help with this is the use of the mediation process.

Mediation is considered an "alternative dispute resolution" method in which the parties get together with their attorneys and a neutral individual who is trained in helping people come to agreements. Sometimes mediators are lawyers, and sometimes they are not. In Georgia family law cases, mediation can be entered into at one of the 30, 60 or 120-day status conferences, or the parties can be referred into mediation by the court at some other time.

There are certain instances in which mediation is not appropriate, however. These might include cases where there is a skewed power dynamic in a relationship, either due to physical or emotional abuse, or because one party lacks the capacity to look out for his or her own interests. There may be other reasons not to submit to mediation as well, as when a case presents a novel question of law, or a certain interpretation of the law is a target for being overturned by the case.

It is important to note that regardless of the times spent in mediation, no party is required to enter into any agreement at all. If mediation does not end in an agreement by the parties, the litigation process will continue. However, as we have previously stated, the emotional and financial toll of litigation can often be mitigated by early agreement on issues. A Georgia family law attorney may be able to help spouses determine whether their case is a good candidate for this kind of resolution.

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