An Overview of the Mediation Process in Georgia: A Court Registered Mediator and Lawyer Explains

October 30, 2009
Many parties attempt to resolve their case by mediation, either in an effort to save time and money or simply because the court has ordered the parties to mediation. In either situation, it is important that the parties understand the mediation process and be willing to participate.

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In a Georgia mediation, all registered mediators should begin with an explanation of the rules of the mediation and what is expected of each party.  This introduction usually includes the following:

1.     The mediator is a neutral person who will facilitate the discussion between the parties but will not coerce or  control the outcome.  The mediator is not on anyone’s side, and will not be making any rulings on facts, evidence or law.

2.     The procedure for the mediation is the Plaintiff will provide an overview of their version of events, and then the Defendant will provide their version.  The mediator may ask questions and should generally restate each side’s opinion on the case.  The parties and the mediator may have a group discussion on the case or separate meetings called caucuses (or a combination of both).

3.     Confidentiality: the Georgia mediation process is confidential except child/ elder abuse, violence or threats of violence.  Also, if subpoenaed, a mediator will almost never testify.

4.     The mediator will not give any legal or financial advice, and the parties are encouraged to seek independent advice from professionals at any point during the mediation or during the applicable cool down period.

5.     Many courts require mediation before a trial, such as matters concerning child support modification, but the participation of the parties is all that is required and the court cannot require settlement.

6.     A Georgia mediation can be terminated at any time by the mediator or the parties.

7.     The parties are expected to negotiate in good faith and full disclosure of matters material to any agreement reached.

8.     The parties are free to consult legal counsel at any time and are encouraged to have any agreement reviewed by independent counsel prior to signing.

9.     A mediated agreement, once signed, can have a significant effect upon the rights of the parties and upon the status of the case.  The significant effect is generally that, if signed, the case is resolved via a contractual agreement.

10.     In a Georgie mediation the parties must have the capacity to conduct good-faith negotiations and make decisions for themselves, including a decision to terminate the mediation if necessary.  If you are medicated, feeling ill, confused or not in a right state of mind, let the mediator know and usually there will be a continuance, termination or a pause in the mediation.

At Breakfield & Associates, Attorneys, Georgia mediation lawyer John Breakfield welcomes anyone with any Personal Injury questions to Call or Email Us. Please remember that all mediation initial consultations are free of charge.

About the author: John Breakfield is a court registered mediator and lawyer with Breakfield & Associates, Attorneys in Gainesville, Georgia (GA) and regularly mediates cases regarding small claims, car wrecks (personal injury), landlord tenant, collections, property disputes and all civil matters.  The law office can assist clients, fellow lawyers, pro se parties and third parties with their mediation needs throughout Georgia including: Hall County (Gainesville, OakwoodFlowery Branch), Jackson County  (Jefferson, Braselton) White County (Helen, Cleveland), Lumpkin County (Dahlonega), Dawson County (Dawsonville), Habersham County (Demorest, Cornelia), and all of Northeast Georgia.

This article should not be considered nor relied upon as legal advice since it is only intended for general overview and informational purposes.  Please consult with an attorney on your specific situation in order to determine an appropriate legal course of action.

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Author: John Breakfield

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