The state of Georgia requires divorcing couples to attend mediation before reaching the trial stage of their divorce. While some cases go to trial, many cases are settled in mediation. Georgia courts encourage couples to work together to resolve their conflicts with a mediator’s assistance.
Many people think of mediation as an alternative to going to court, and they are correct. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that couples can use if they choose to go through a private mediator.
However, mediation is also an integrated part of family courts in Georgia and many other states across the country. It is highly effective.
The requirement that couples attend mediation before trial saves public resources and helps alleviate the backlog many courts face with the large number of cases judges have on their dockets.
Benefits of mediation
In addition, research shows that most divorce cases settle before going to trial, which makes mediation an ideal space for couples to air their grievances and hopefully find solutions to their problems. In addition to these benefits, mediation is:
- Private and confidential
- Less expensive than going to court
- Non-binding unless you reach an agreement
- Less formal than the courts
- Usually much faster than the court
One of the unique aspects of mediation is that it allows couples to explore creative solutions to their problems. Most of the time, if the couple reaches an agreement and the terms are lawful and do not go against public policy, judges will sign off on these agreements.
Why does the court order mediation?
The courts generally believe that divorcing couples usually know what is best for themselves and are best equipped to make decisions for themselves and their families if they can communicate and compromise when necessary.
For this reason, Georgia courts require divorcing couples to go through mediation before going to trial and attempting to resolve their conflict with the help of a mediator. While the couple does not have to reach an agreement, this requirement is highly effective in getting couples to reach agreements on their own, which often tend to work better for the couple in the long run than orders issued without their input.