Mediation is a type of dispute resolution that is used to minimize hostility between people and help them agree on certain issues. The mediator is required to be totally neutral as he or she does not represent either party, even when the mediator is an attorney.
Mediation attorneys can play a positive role in many legal disputes from contractual disagreements and workplace grievances to accusations of medical malpractice and personal injury. They have a particularly important function to fulfil in the realm of family and collaborative law, particularly when it comes to prenuptial contracts, alimony, division of property, support agreements, separation, and of course divorce.
The Role of Mediation Divorce Attorneys
Mediation divorce attorneys participate in a specialized form of lawyer-supported mediation. Essentially what they do is to help the two parties (often in the presence of the attorneys who are representing them), communicate and reach a settlement agreement before the divorce proceedings go to court. In this way it helps couple maintain control of the divorce process and minimizes the costs of divorce.
Couples who don’t opt for mediation ultimately leave decisions regarding divorce orders to an impartial judge who is provided with relatively limited imformation about the couple and their children (if there are any). Of course if one party refuses to work with a mediator, and insists on fighting a divorce settlement out in court, then mediation clearly won’t work. But those couples that do work with mediation attorneys generally find that the whole procedure is a lot less stressful than litigation in court.
The goal of any mediation process is to settle disputes in a civil, non-confrontational way.
Because mediators must remain neutral, they cannot even try to judge who is right and who is wrong. Nevertheless mediation attorneys will encourage couples to compromise to resolve difficult issues. This can be time consuming, and typically takes a lot of patience. It sometimes entails meeting the two parties separately, and also facilitating assistance from other professionals who can give the couple guidance in particular fields, from financial to psychological.
Mediators are not allowed to give legal advice to anyone they act as mediator for. They also cannot evaluate a case or give their opinion about how a case is likely to play out. Furthermore, the dispute resolution process they oversee is never “on the record” and is therefore confidential. A mediator cannot be forced by a subpoena to testify in court. The only time this confidentiality is waived is when there are domestic abuse issues.
Because mediation is voluntary, and the parties agree to it so they can find their own solutions to a divorce settlement, it is more likely that both will keep to any agreement reached. For this reason it is uncommon for mediated agreements to be “enforced” in any legal manner.
If you live in Georgia and need an experienced mediation attorney to assist with your divorce settlement, contact Waggoner Hastings Family & Collaborative Law firm to set up a consultation. More than 90 percent of family law matters in Georgia are resolved through the agreement of the parties concerned. We can help ensure that yours are too.