Divorce. Where do you start?
Should you represent yourself? Should you hire a lawyer? What about the kids? Here are the answers to your questions.
An uncontested, self represented divorce can be the best scenario for everyone in an uncomplicated divorce. It also can dramatically reduce costs. But, did you know you can represent yourself in a contested divorce also?
Parenting is difficult. It is even more difficult when divorced. Having a well thought out co-parenting plan at the start will make the next 10 to 18 years much smoother on everyone!
Divorce Mediation Can Help
Whether you are representing yourself or have hired an attorney, mediation can dramatically reduce the time, effort, pain, and cost of divorce.
What is Mediation?
Mediation involves people coming together to compromise and find solutions to their disagreements. You and everyone you know has been in the role of mediator at one point or another. If you have ever helped to settle a conflict between family or friends, you have been a mediator. Formal mediation services have become more and more popular over the years as people have looked for ways to solve conflicts peacefully. When you hire a mediator and attend a mediation session, you will be negotiating with the assistance of a neutral party – the mediator.
Average Divorce Cost in Georgia
These are the average costs of a divorce involving minor children in Georgia in three different situations; a attorney represented divorce ending in a court trial, an attorney represented divorce ending in a settlement, and a mediated divorce settlement. Looking at this graph, it is clear that mediation can save the average couple a significant amount of money. This is one of many advantages of mediation. For more specific information about the fees at Gwinnett Mediation, click here.
Mediation Success Rate
Key Components of Mediation
Your participation in mediation is completely voluntary. You should never feel that you have been forced or coerced into attending a mediation session, and it would be important for you to speak up if you do feel this way. During mediation, you are able to stop the process or to take a break at any time.
You are in Control
The negotiating parties have all of the control over the outcome of the mediation session. The mediator is not able to order anyone to do anything, or force either of the parties to agree to anything. Therefore, the individuals who came to mediation are the only ones who can make decisions regarding the issues at hand.
The mediator is not allowed to disclose any information discussed during mediation to any outside individuals. This is different from going to court where the proceedings become part of the public record. Additionally, if the issues discussed in mediation are not settled, the mediator cannot be called as a witness in the court proceedings.
As opposed to a courtroom which is quite formal and has many rules to follow, mediation is less structured. There is a general format that is followed at the beginning of the mediation session, but after that the sessions vary. There are only a few rules, and there are no formal procedures as you would find in a courtroom.
How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced?
Mediation Is Significantly Faster!
These are the average lengths of time that it takes couples in Georgia with minor children to divorce in three different situations – in a court trial, with attorneys who were able to settle out of court, and with mediation. On average, mediation will save you a significant amount of time. Even if you do not settle all of the issues in one mediation session, another mediation session can typically be scheduled within a short amount of time.
What is divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation involves meeting with your soon to be ex-spouse and a neutral third party – the mediator. The mediation will address any of the issues related to the divorce that the two of you have not been able to reach agreement on. Sometimes only a few issues need to be addressed, while other times just about every issue related to the divorce needs to be mediated.
Every divorce is unique, so every divorce mediation session is unique as well. The mediator will work with both of you together, separately, or both together and separately at different points, to help clarify the issues and assist the two of you in negotiation.
Mediation is extremely successful, and it results in a settlement agreement 87% of the time. At the end of the mediation session, if agreements have been reached on all of the issues that were raised, a settlement agreement will be written up which can then be submitted to the courts.
How much does mediation cost?
The cost of mediation varies depending on who you choose as your mediator and the length of your mediation session. Some mediators charge as low as $150 per hour, while some others charge over $700 per hour. Additionally, your cost will vary depending on how complicated your case is since the more time that is spent in mediation, the higher your cost will be. For information on the rates at Gwinnett Mediation, see the Fees page.
Why is mediation so much cheaper? Am I missing out on something?
It can seem strange to some that mediation is so much less expensive than using an attorney for a divorce. In the graph above, you can see the drastic difference in cost, and it leads some to wonder if there is something they are missing out on by choosing mediation. The short answer to that is no, you are not missing out on anything.
Mediation is less expensive because you are only paying for someone’s time while you are with them, and they work on your case over a matter of hours as opposed to days. Attorney’s rates are typically higher than the rates of mediators, and if you are using an attorney to argue with your spouse’s attorney over several different issues, they are going to be spending a lot of time on your case.
In mediation, you do a lot more of the work in terms of settling things with your soon to be ex-spouse, including preparation work before the mediation and the work you do during the mediation session. These factors impact cost, and help to keep costs down.
How long does mediation take?
Unfortunately, there is no straight answer to this. The amount of time that it will take to mediate your divorce will depend upon several factors, including the number of issues that need to be resolved and how willing or unwilling the two of you are to compromise on the issues.
There are times when everything can be resolved in one mediation session that is several hours long. Other times, multiple mediation sessions need to be scheduled in order to address all of the topics up for negotiation.
At Gwinnett Mediation, once your case is explained, a rough estimate of how long the mediation will take can be provided.
We don't get along at all. Can we still do mediation?
Yes, you definitely can still do mediation even if you do not get along at all. In most instances, the mediation starts with everyone meeting together; however, in highly conflictual cases, sometimes the couples will be kept separate, and we will never meet as a large group. Mediation is designed for people in conflict, and there are ways to handle the emotions involved in this in order to facilitate negotiation and compromise.
Should my attorney come to mediation with me?
That decision is entirely up to you. Oftentimes, if individuals have attorneys, the attorneys do accompany them to a mediation session. If the attorney is not able to be there, the individuals can always contact their attorney by phone during the mediation session if needed.
I'm not married, but separating from a domestic partner. Would mediation still work for us?
Completely! It would be very similar to the mediation that occurs with married couples. More and more couples today are choosing to live together, but not get married, and if they decide to split up, they face many of the same issues as a divorcing married couple does. Additionally, please note that this is an LGBTQI friendly practice.