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Since an uncontested divorce means that the spouses are in agreement on all issues that arise in a divorce, mediation plays no role in a typical uncontested divorce in Georgia. However, there are many circumstances in which the spouses are in agreement on most issues, but lack the practical knowledge of how to solve certain problems, such as how to craft a good parenting plan, how to divide certain property, or what would be the likely outcome of litigation if no agreement is reached. In these circumstances, mediation may be appropriate even before any paperwork is filed. There is no need for the court’s permission or referral for a mediation session. The spouses can book a session with a mediator on their own. Georgia Counties usually keep a list of qualified mediators in their county. Many of them are attorneys with family law experience, and they are perhaps the best qualified to facilitate the resolution of many problems. Keep in mind that mediators are trained “neutrals” that do not take sides and are skilled at helping the spouses reach their own decisions once they understand the substance of the law and its practical implications. Mediators, of course, do not give legal advice, but they do explain the likely outcome of this or that decision. Typical mediation sessions last anywhere from 3-5 hours, and good mediators charge $200-$300 an hour. If all goes well, the spouses sign off on a memorandum of understanding that will then be used by an uncontested divorce attorney to draft all the paperwork to be filed and obtain a divorce after 31 days, just as they would in an uncontested divorce.

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