Alternative Dispute Resolution Options In Georgia

Several types of alternative dispute resolution methods are available for a divorce in Georgia, including mediation and collaborative divorce.

For many couples in Georgia, getting a divorce is inevitable. Although it is often a difficult and heartbreaking process, there are options today that can help couples end a marriage in a cost-effective and timely manner. By smoothing the divorce process, people may be able to recover more quickly and get on with their lives.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is often an effective way to end a marriage without resorting to a drawn-out, costly court dispute. According to the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution, ADR has numerous benefits. Not only can it same time and money for divorcing couples, but the resources of courts, judges and juries are spared for crucial cases. Additionally, attorneys are given more options to better serve their clients.

The differences between mediation and collaborative law

The most common forms of ADR — mediation and collaborative law — can be quite effective. For example, an uncontested divorce can spare children from experiencing conflict between their parents, states the Chicago Sun-Times. However, both types of divorce have limitations and advantages. It is important to understand the different factors involved in these methods.

  • Mediation — During a mediated divorce, each spouse will sit with a neutral third party to resolve their issues outside of a courtroom. This third party can be an attorney with mediation experience or a certified mediator. Mediation is especially effective when parties are able to speak to each other civilly, treat each other with respect and listen to either side with an open mind.
  • Collaborative divorce — In collaborative law, parties will each involve their own attorney. Additional professionals are often utilized, such as child therapists and financial advisors. According to U.S. News & World Report, this type of divorce can be useful when a couple has a complex child custody or property division dispute, yet still can reasonably discuss matters and come to an agreement.

In some cases, a litigated divorce may be the best option. This is especially true if alcohol, drug abuse or domestic violence was a factor during the marriage, or if one spouse feels intimidated by the other or at a financial or emotional disadvantage. It is important to remember that even if a divorce does go to court, numerous cases are still dealt with quickly and fairly. In circumstances where an uncontested divorce is impossible, many judges will effectively take each spouse's best interests into consideration, as well as those of the children, to come up with the best solution for everyone.

If you're considering a divorce in Georgia, it can help to speak with an experienced family law attorney before deciding which type of alternative dispute resolution to choose. An attorney can help you decide on the option that's best for your circumstances.