Parties may find themselves in a position where their divorce is not quite uncontested because they have unresolved issues, yet they do not require a full trial before a judge. In those situations, mediation may be a good option. Mediation is often required in divorce in Georgia, however, even when it isn’t required, parties often find a benefit in choosing mediation over litigation. Below is a breakdown of the mediation process.
The Mediation Process
STEP 1 Prior to Mediation, parties receive a brief questionnaire to complete. This prepares the mediator to better understand what the issues are that still need to be mediated. In court connected mediation, they may not issue a questionnaire.
STEP 2 On the day of Mediation, the mediator will bring both parties together to explain the purpose of the mediation and the parties will get a chance to share their position and state what they believe will be an ideal resolution. It is important to know that the mediation session is confidential and nothing that is shared in the mediation session can be used in court. This allows parties to negotiate freely without fear that what they say will be used against them at a later date should the matter not get resolved at mediation.
STEP 3 Once the parties share their positions, the mediator begins to work the mediation process to try to assist parties with arriving at a resolution.
STEP 4 (optional) After speaking with both parties jointly for some time, often, a mediator will split the parties into a caucus session. A caucus is where the mediator meets one on one with one side of the case to better understand his or her position regarding the conflict. Generally, if a mediator caucuses with one party, she will caucus with the other side as well. Caucus sessions, like any other portion of the mediation, are confidential.
STEP 5 Parties continue to work the mediation process until one of several outcomes are met. At the conclusion of a mediation, the parties can arrive at a full settlement of all issues, a partial settlement leaving a few issues for the court to decide, or an impasse which will result in no agreement.
Mediation costs a fraction of what it would cost to litigate a divorce, so if you and your spouse are not quite ready to file an uncontested divorce, consider mediation for your divorce.