Divorce mediation is growing in popularity because it makes the divorce process much easier to handle. Instead of fighting about a divorce settlement in court, experienced mediation attorneys help couples reach consensus out of court. They then take the agreement to the court for a judge to approve.
First of all, it’s important to realize that mediation attorneys are neutral. So, while you might both have an attorney representing you in court when you opt for divorce mediation you both talk to this one negotiator. It is a totally confidential process and there is no public record as there is when couples fight out a divorce settlement in court.
Also, mediators do not ever give legal advice, even if they are attorneys. The function of a divorce mediator is to help couples resolve disputes and reach an agreement so that they can continue with their lives. Additionally, if divorce mediation is not successful and the couple ends up litigating, the mediator cannot become a witness and give information about what was discussed during the mediation process.
Usually, the couple will initially meet the mediator together, possibly with their attorneys present. Then they will have individual meetings so they can talk to the mediator alone. There may be additional meetings where both parties are present before a settlement is reached.
So what will the couple and their mediation attorney discuss during the divorce mediation process?
Initially, the couple will have an opportunity to discuss what issues they want to resolve and what they hope mediation will achieve. The primary issues usually revolve around major assets like houses and vehicles, money, children, and alimony.
What a Divorce Mediator Will Want to Discuss
Before mediation can begin, the mediator will want to know everything about the couple’s income, expenses, debts, and assets, and will need to see things like tax return records, bank statements, outstanding bills, loan statements, vehicle and property valuations. You will also have to supply information about stocks, bonds, pensions, medical insurance, life policies, and credit card balances.
All forms of property owned by either party (or together) will need to be discussed, including artworks and jewelry. If one or both of you have frequent flyer miles these will also need to be discussed.
When it comes to children, the mediator will want to know their ages, sex, what schools they attend, and any extra-mural activities they do. Decisions will need to be made about who gets custody of the children and what visitation rights the other party gets if custody isn’t shared.
A good divorce mediation attorney will guide the conversation and give you a list of the documentation required.
Ultimately, divorce mediation is quicker, easier, less stressful, and less costly than a court trial. The two parties decide what is best for them, instead of having a judge with no knowledge or interest in the family make decisions.
The mediation attorneys at Waggoner Hastings in Alpharetta have considerable experience as divorce mediators, so if you live in Georgia contact them to see how they can help you.