In divorce law, mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which a neutral or impartial person facilitates discussions between the parties in an attempt to settle their divorce. The process is flexible, confidential, and offers the couple an opportunity to resolve their issues and avoid the courtroom. It can also help the couple to develop a healthy foundation for future communication.
In Georgia, divorce mediations are conducted by a certified mediator. These individuals have to meet certain state requirements, such as: holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, completing both general mediation training and advanced domestic mediation training, and having experience observing and co-mediating actual disputes. In a mediation, mediators focus on the parties’ needs and interests. They help the couple to communicate in a civil manner and attempt to maintain a calm atmosphere. The mediator’s goal is to resolve all disputes, large or small. For family law, those disputes can include property division, debt division, alimony, child custody, parenting plans, child support, as well as taxes and retirement plans. While mediators do not have any legal authority to compel an agreement or impose a settlement, he or she can suggest ideas or ways that family law issues are commonly solved.