Family law mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which the mediator, a neutral certified by the State, meets with both parties to assist in reaching a resolution in all or some of the issues that must be resolved in the case. While it is commonly used in a divorce, it is also beneficial in all family law cases, sometimes even including those involving domestic violence.
Many divorcing couples find that mediation is helpful, because it allows them the opportunity to resolve issues amicably and make their own decisions regarding child custody, finances, property division, and other matters. If you are interested in this process, contact the law firm of Jody A. Miller, Attorney at Law, in Atlanta, Georgia, to schedule an appointment.
As a certified mediator in the state of Georgia, Jody A. Miller has a thorough understanding of the mediation process. When serving as a mediator, Ms. Miller does not represent either party, but instead helps the parties clarify and define their issues, develop options and possible resolutions, evaluate and choose among their options, and memorialize any agreements reached.
Certified mediators are not required to be lawyers. However, because Ms. Miller is an experienced family law lawyer, she can help parties effectively identify all the issues that need to be discussed and can guide them in finding a resolution that meets their needs now and in the future.
Selecting a Mediator
Couples are allowed to choose their own mediator. A list of all state certified mediators can be found at the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution web site, www.godr.org, or at the Alternative Dispute Resolution offices of most counties.
When is Mediation Used?
Couples can engage in voluntary mediation before or after a case is filed. During this process, the parties agree on issues relating to the divorce, including child custody, spousal support, property division and other related matters. If the couple comes to a final agreement on these issues, they may bring the matter to another lawyer who drafts the divorce document and obtains the necessary signatures to finalize it.
In Georgia, the family court often requires couples going through a divorce and most other family law cases to engage in mediation, if they have not already done so. Both parties and their lawyers may agree on a mediator, or have one chosen for them through the county. When mediation is required by the court, parties are only obligated to make an attempt in good faith to resolve the issues and are not required to reach an agreement.
Using Mediation to Decide Some Family Law Issues
Mediation is not an all or nothing process. You can use it to agree on some of the issues related to your divorce or other family law case, while leaving others for the court to decide. In addition, you can use mediation to form partial agreements, such as deciding on the division of assets, but not the division of debts.
Mediation is Confidential
Anything that is discussed in mediation remains confidential. If an agreement is reached, the mediator will draft a memorandum of understanding that is clearly written and as detailed as possible so that the parties can use it as a basis for a future court order.
Contact Jody A. Miller, Attorney at Law, for More Information
Contact us at the law office of Jody A. Miller to learn if mediation is right for you. As a certified mediator, Attorney Miller can thoroughly explain the process and benefits of resolving family law issues by means other than litigation.
We represent clients throughout Georgia, including locations such as Carrolton, Decatur, Lawrenceville, Cartersville, and Marietta.