Saturday, February 20, 2010

Divorce and Mediation

So, you have filed for divorce and your worthless spouse, "Sluggo," and his divorce lawyer, are refusing, from your perspective, to negotiate a reasonable divorce settlement. What can you do to get a fair result without having to go all the way to a final hearing or trial? One idea which you and your divorce attorney may be required to consider is mediation.
Mediation is a process in which both divorcing parties, (and their respective divorce lawyers), will meet, (with a mediator acting as referee), and attempt to negotiate a fair settlement of all unresolved issues, including child custody, visitation, and property and debt issues. Mediation is not binding, which means that either party may be free to walk away from the mediation table without accepting the result, (provided that the party did not sign, or agree to, any mediation agreement while at the table). Georgia family law judges often require parties to attempt to resolve divorce issues through mediation, before coming back to court for a final hearing.
Mediation may occur in one of two primary ways:
1. Informal or Private Mediation: In this method, the parties may simply informally meet, along with their respective divorce attorneys, and attempt to informally settle the divorce case, or at least some of the issues. The parties may also utilize any neutral party to serve as mediator, or referee.
2. Formal or Court-Referred Mediation: In this alternative method, the parties will meet, along with their respective divorce lawyers, with a specially trained and court-approved mediator, who will attempt to guide the parties through a successful resolution of all outstanding issues. Again, while neither party is required to accept the result, (provided they walk away without signing or agreeing to the mediator's suggested resolution), the family law judge will likely at least require you, (and your divorce lawyer), to attend mediation and attempt such an alternative dispute resolution.
Please be sure to discuss the idea of mediation with your own divorce lawyer. There are no "magic" solutions which will make Sluggo act reasonably about everything! But at least mediation may help lead to a successful resolution of your divorce and without Sluggo driving you crazy during the process!

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