Mary Ellen Cates, Attorney & State Mediator
with a common sense approach, also offering pre-divorce mediation
E-mail: [email protected] - inquiries welcome and responded to. Contact is the first step.
Contacts: Office: (404) 292-3803; Cell (404) 317-0015; Fax (404) 292-1510
Location: Physical Address: 120 North Avondale Road, A-2, Avondale Estates , Georgia 30002 (near Memorial Drive and I-285; College Avenue, (Agnes Scott College) East of Decatur). Mailing Address: P.O. Box 309, Avondale Estates, Georgia 30002
Free Initial Consultation: if it's the type of case that I handle and in the jurisdictions that I practice in. It's to your advantage to have a local attorney who knows how judges usually rule. There is an hourly charge to review documents if you are seeking a legal opinion.
Individual Legal Services Offered: Pre-Divorce Mediation; Uncontested divorce, Contested divorce, Child Support, Legitimation, Visitation, Custody, Change of Custody, Mediation & Case Evaluations.
Services for Pro Se Clients (who represent themselves): Pre-Divorce Mediation; Uncontested divorce, Contested divorce, Child Support, Legitimation, Visitation, Custody, Change of Custody, Mediation & Case Evaluations.
Pre-Divorce Mediation: If you don't want to hire attorneys and prefer to hand the divorce yourselves, you can utilize pre-divorce mediation. It is usual to give both parties a specified period of time to consult with an attorney of their choice to review any agreement before they give their final acceptance to the mediated agreement. Many parties prefer the informal setting of pre-divorce mediation. By utilizing pre-divorce mediation, there is no pressure of court, which many people desire. The pre-divorce mediation occurs prior to suit being filed.
Representation of Parties: As an attorney, I have represented husbands and wife's in equal numbers. I have obtained custody for fathers as well as for mothers.
Mediation Services Offered: Mediation services offered: I am licensed by the State of Georgia as a mediator, and offer services as a Family Law mediator and Pre-Divorce Mediation. Please see the Chapter entitled Mediation, An Alternative. I have included the guidelines I use in my mediations to give you a better understanding of mediation. I am available for mediation on an hourly basis. The parties usually split the cost of mediation.
Be Neutral: I brief a current domestic appeals case from the Georgia Supreme Court each month which is published in Be Neutral, the monthly newsletter for the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution.
Case Evaluator: If you have an attorney, you don't need a case evaluator. If you don't have an attorney and you are headed to Court, I offer services as a case evaluator to point out the weaknesses of your case and help you develop a logical presentation for the Court. You should know in the majority of cases, the party who has an attorney usually wins. See the Chapter I Want to Represent Myself This will give you some understanding of many serious obstacles you will be facing. A case evaluation is not a substitute for having an attorney, but it will help strengthen your presentation by looking at the evidence you need to level the field. As you will learn from reading the chapter, you may have too much to lose not to hire an attorney. You may be a very intelligent professional, but it's legal knowledge that is needed now. The question is how bad will your lack of it hurt you? I would recommend an attorney at least for trial. Case evaluations are provided on an hourly basis.
* See referenced Chapters on Georgia Resources Page which include observations from trials I have actively presented as an attorney since 1985 on:
It's Time to Hire an Attorney
A: No one wants to go to court. Period. No one wants has thousands of dollars to give an attorney as a retainer (each of you means retainer times two). Why wait until the divorce is filed and money is spent before you go to mediation? I charge an hourly rate which is split between the parties. We discuss ways to resolve the disputes and then draft the agreement. It may take several sessions, depending on the complexity of the problems and assets and debts involved and documents needed. Once complete, each party can take the agreement to an attorney for review. It may then be filed as an uncontested divorce.
Q: When would pre-divorce mediation not work?
Q: But, if my spouse and I can agree in pre-divorce mediation and both of us are satisfied there has been full disclosure of assets and debts, it will save us time and money in hiring attorneys?
Q: If we both want to have a pre-divorce mediation, but reserve our right to have an attorney review it, can we do that?
Q: If we resolve everything in a pre-divorce mediation, do we need an attorney to complete the process?
Q: What is the best advice you can give to divorcing couples who are fighting over their children?
Q: If I am going to represent myself, can you review my documents and give me your advice on what I am doing and/or should do?
Q: What advice would you give someone going to Court without an attorney?
Q: Do you give an initial free consultation?
Q: What substantive issues do you think are important for parties to recognize early on in their divorce?
Q: What do you want potential clients to know about you?
Q: What do you think is the hardest part for most people who are contemplating a divorce?