Is Divorce Mediation Mandatory When Ending a Marriage?

There is no easy way to approach a divorce, even when it is amicable. But contested divorces are even more challenging to navigate. If you are facing a contested divorce in Georgia, you may be curious about whether certain processes, like mediation, are required.

Let’s explore the requirements for divorce mediation and answer a couple of frequently asked questions about the mediation process.


What Is Mediation?

Mediation is the most common type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and is heavily relied on in contested divorce cases. A third-party mediator will help divorcing couples negotiate and work through the issues of their divorce to reach a resolution that both sides are willing to agree to. Mediation keeps couples out of court and gives each side more of a voice in the divorce process. Plus, it is usually a faster and more cost-effective option than litigation.


Is Divorce Mediation Mandatory in Georgia?

Most contested divorces in Georgia are required to go through mediation before there is a trial in court, which gives both parties a chance to reach a divorce agreement outside of the courtroom. Mediation has a high success rate for divorces in Georgia—even couples who doubt they can reach a settlement without involvement from a judge have a high chance of resolving issues and achieving desired or successful results during mediation.

Requiring couples to attend mediation first gives the couple the opportunity to keep matters between themselves and maintain more control in the divorce. Once a case goes to the courtroom, the judge has the ultimate say in how issues should be resolved and what the final resolution should include.


Are There Exceptions That Can Keep a Divorcing Couple Out of Mediation?

Although most divorcing couples are usually mandated to mediation at some point during the process, there are exceptions to this rule. Exceptions most often center around abuse, dishonesty, or lack of compromise.


Abuse in the Home or Relationship

Mediation is not recommended for couples with a history of domestic abuse within the marriage or active abuse occurring. Mediation should be a place where both parties can talk freely, and both should be able to view each other equally. If there is an imbalance of power or one of the parties is able to bully or control the other throughout the process, then the concept of equality diminishes and makes mediation an unfair option for the abused.

It is also not a fair choice when there are reports or evidence of child abuse within the home. Again, mediation is based on neutrality and equality, but neutrality is not an option if child abuse is occurring.


Dishonest Practices

There are several ways a spouse can participate in dishonest practices that may disqualify them from mediation. These actions include:

  • Hiding money or assets—If one spouse has more marital property, including money, but is trying to hide parts or all of it, dishonesty negates the equality and fairness that should be inherent in mediation.
  • Constantly telling big or small lies—It is natural to want to downplay or exaggerate some things to look better than the other spouse in divorce mediation. However, being dishonest, even through half-truths and white lies, on a consistent basis disrupts the mission of mediation and can disqualify a couple from participating further.


Lack of Participation or Compromise

In some cases, one couple wants a divorce while the other does not, and the unwilling party will do everything in their power to derail the process. Some ways they can do that is by:

  • Refusing to compromise on anything related to the divorce
  • Refusing to attend scheduled mediation sessions
  • Refusing to participate in the conversations with the mediator
  • Refusing to remain fair during the process

Divorce mediation is an important, often successful route for a couple seeking to dissolve their marriage. If you need representation throughout the mediation process, talk to Platt Family Law.

Contested divorces can become complex and challenging to navigate without skilled representation. That is why Rachel Platt and the all-female family law attorneys at our firm deliver strong representation for anyone facing a divorce. We diligently represent you during the mediation process and work with the other party to reach favorable outcomes. Should mediation not be successful, we are also highly experienced in litigation and will advocate for you in the courtroom.

Schedule a consultation with our firm today to discuss your case: 404-255-3434


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