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Georgia Divorce Mediation, Counseling and Parenting Classes
Georgia Divorce Mediation:
Under the Code of Georgia Annotated, 19-6-10, the court may refer any contested divorce to alternative dispute resolution.
In Georgia, courts give couples the opportunity to craft their own divorce agreement, because experience demonstrates that individuals who create their own agreement generally follow its conditions. Many counties in Georgia utilize some type of publicly sponsored alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program, such as mediation. Many of these counties require a good faith effort to resolve divorce disputes. The couples are not forced to agree; however, they try to find their own solution before litigating.
Divorce couples work with domestic mediators who have a B.A. or B.S plus general and civil mediation training as well as the successful completion of an approved domestic mediation training program and practical experience observing and co-mediating actual disputes. Divorce mediators also attend an in-depth domestic violence educational workshop.
Couples in divorce mediation address all issues in their divorce, including custody and child support, alimony and the division of property and debts. They can enter into any mutually acceptable agreements regarding the payment of alimony and the division of their assets and debts.
There are two paths to mediation in Georgia. Private mediation involves hiring and paying a private mediator to help resolve divorce-related disputes before filing. Any agreement becomes legally binding with the parties' signatures, so if the agreement is broken the breach is treated as a broken contract. Court-referred mediation begins after filing when a judge refers the couple to mediation. Depending on the situation, parties may or may not have legal representation, such as a consulting attorney who helps provide mediation-related advice. Like private mediation, agreements reached between the parties become legally binding, and if the agreement is violated or one of the parties doesn't follow through, the court may enforce the terms.
For the full text of the law governing ADR in Georgia divorces, see Ga. Code Ann., Sec. 19-5-1.
There is no requirement for marriage counseling in Georgia. Georgia’s no- fault divorce means one spouse can divorce a spouse over his or her objections by simply attesting that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Georgia Parenting Class:
Some Georgia counties require a four-hour parenting class that teaches the correct approach to parenting during and after a divorce. State law may require parenting classes during the divorce proceedings. Parents file a certificate of completion with the court after taking the course. Most counties offer the classes only a few times a month. Depending on the disposition of the judge, he or she may grant a divorce if only one spouse attends but restrict the other parent's visitation until he or she attends.
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