A breakdown of the mediation process
For a mediation to be successful, the participants will need to keep the following in mind:
- A mediator cannot give legal advice or create any orders that bind the parties. They are only there as a facilitator to help the participants negotiate a successful agreement.
- A mediator cannot have a conflict of interest. So, a mediator could not be the attorney who is representing you or your spouse on another case. If you know about a conflict of interest you are required to disclose it. If you know about a conflict of interest involving the mediator and the other party but fail to disclose it then you cannot claim a conflict of interest at a later date.
- A mediator can use whatever means that are deemed reasonably necessary to help the parties resolve their marital issues. These powers can include:
- Requiring either party to produce any necessary information or documentation.
- Meeting with either party separately.
- Requesting that the parties complete forms and questionnaires.
- Suggesting that the parties get the assistance of other experts at the couple’s expense.
- Mediation cannot succeed without good faith on the part of the participants. The couple must agree that they are not using mediation as a way to delay a divorce or dissolution of marriage.
- While the mediation is going on, each party should consult with their own attorney. It is essential for each party to have the legal advice needed to make informed decisions.
- The mediator cannot force either party into an agreement or settlement. All settlement terms are solely up to the parties involved.
- The mediator cannot guarantee a particular outcome.
- The time and meeting place must be agreed upon by all parties, including the mediator.
- Each party must disclose any and all documents that are relevant to the issues discussed in mediation.
- Under Georgia law, all statements made during mediation are privileged, even if the case eventually goes to court. So, what happens in mediation stays in mediation.
- Mediation can be terminated through a successful agreement at any time by the mediator, if they believe the process isn’t productive, or by the parties.