When a couple files for divorce, many expect a heated courtroom battle over child custody and who gets the house. More couples have chosen to forgo these dramatic scenes and design their divorce agreements through mediation.

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution that takes the decision-making out of a judge’s hands and places it with the couple. Mediation provides spouses complete control over their divorce.

When a judge rules for mediation

Before negotiations begin, a judge must approve a couple’s request for mediation. Judges will only grant mediation if they believe it will produce a better resolution than traditional litigation. If a couple is enthusiastic about working together to draft their own agreement, a judge is more likely to rule for mediation.

The immediate benefits of collaborative negotiations

Spouses who use mediation will benefit from:

  • Their choice of mediator: Couples have their choice of mediator. Professionals leverage their training in coaching and communication to help spouses find a mutual understanding. From there, mediators help disputing parties explore possible solutions, evaluating each party’s needs and reaching a compromise.
  • Confidential negotiations: All mediated negotiations are confidential, unlike the public record of courtroom litigation. This confidentiality prevents future disputes from drawing on the unfortunate things spouses sometimes say to each other in a heated conversation.
  • Reduced costs: Without the need for a courthouse or courtroom personnel, meditation costs significantly less. Lawyers are often eager to tackle mediation cases and charge lower rates. Some state courts will even offer to pay a professional mediator’s fee.
  • Convenient scheduling: Again, without the need for a courtroom, mediated negotiations can begin immediately at any neutral location acceptable to each spouse. With courtroom litigation, spouses might wait months to begin negotiations.
  • Greater satisfaction with results: Mediation has become increasingly popular over the past 20 years. These upward trends are likely due to increased satisfaction with mediation, both with the process and the results. In a courtroom, a judge issues a ruling, assigns fault and might even demand terms that feel punitive to the couple.

A lawyer can answer questions

Couples seeking answers about mediation can contact a local attorney familiar with Georgia divorce law. A lawyer can work closely with the courts, draft comprehensive divorce agreements and recommend a qualified mediator.