A breakdown of the mediation process

For a mediation to be successful, the participants will need to keep the following in mind:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The mediator cannot force either party into an agreement or settlement. All settlement terms are solely up to the parties involved.
  7. The mediator cannot guarantee a particular outcome.
  8. The time and meeting place must be agreed upon by all parties, including the mediator.
  9. Each party must disclose any and all documents that are relevant to the issues discussed in mediation.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.