What is mediation?
Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution. It is an alternative to appearing in Court and having a Judge determine the outcome of your case. Most Courts in Georgia will order that parties to divorce and family law cases attempt mediation prior to the Court setting the case down a final hearing.
The costs of mediation are typically, but not always, split evenly between the parties. In some situations, one party may pay more than 50% of the cost of mediation depending on certain factors.
The costs of mediation include the mediator’s hourly rate for the duration of the mediation; and if a party has an attorney representing them at the mediation, that party can expect to pay their attorney’s hourly rate for the duration of the mediation as well as the attorney’s hourly rate associated with preparing for the mediation.
Some counties in Georgia, including Fulton County and DeKalb County, offer discounted rates if you schedule mediation through the Alternative Dispute Resolution office in the county where your case is pending. Check with your local Alternative Dispute Resolution office to see if discounted rates are offered in your county.
The mediator may be selected in several ways- you and the opposing party may mutually agree upon a mediator; your attorney may work with the opposing attorney to mutually agreed upon a mediator; the Court may order a particular mediator serve in your case; or the Alternative Dispute Resolution office where your case is pending may assign you a mediator.
The mediator’s role in the case is to remain neutral and to help you and the opposing party find a resolution to your case that is mutually satisfactory to both parties. The goal of the mediation process is to give you and the opposing party the opportunity to work together with the mediator and your attorneys if applicable, to determine the outcome of your case. You are not required to come to an agreement at mediation; and you are not required to come face to face with the opposing party unless you both agree. There are many benefits to mediation, including but not limited to having control over the outcome of your case and saving money on the costs of a final trial. If a Judge determines your case at a final trial, you will lose much of the control you have over the outcome of your case. Having an attorney represent you at mediation to advise you on the issues in your case can help you navigate a successful mediation.
If you have a question about what mediation is or how you can schedule mediation, call us today to schedule a consultation. 404-239-3995.