So you’ve decided to divorce and you want it to be as easy as possible? Your Georgia divorce doesn’t have to be one in a long list of horror stories your friends and co-workers have shared with you about their own experiences. The first step in making sure your divorce goes smoothly is both parties deciding they would like to end things swiftly and amicably. Then, whether you are filing an uncontested divorce or contested divorce, you should consider mediation (also called Alternative Dispute Resolution / ADR).
Mediation can help make a contested case into an uncontested one or can ease tension surrounding contested issues in an uncontested case. A neutral third party mediator will help you and your spouse settle the areas of contention without paying the high court and attorney fees.
Here are some tips to keep in mind during a Georgia Uncontested Divorce Mediation:
- Allow feelings to vent. Sometimes fear, anger, or sadness can provoke a person to say things they don’t mean, or to cast blame on the other party. Try not to take this personally and just let your spouse blow off steam for several minutes before responding. If you add fuel to the fire, things could escalate quickly. Instead, reduce tension and make things easier by not responding until the conversation is headed in a constructive direction.
- Use the technique of “mirroring” what you hear. This is an incredibly simple yet effective technique. Most of the time, tension builds because the other side feels that you are not listening to what they say. If this issue is resolved, oftentimes things will get better very quickly. Saying, “so if I’m hearing you correctly, you think…” or “let me make sure I understand, you feel…” makes reflecting back what you feel flow more naturally into the conversation, and will then allow you to provide your opinion on the matter.
- Validate the other person’s point of view. Some people argue just to disagree with you, but if they see that you won’t engage that behavior, you can both move toward generating a solution. Even if you don’t agree with what their saying, tell them you understand how they could feel that way.
- Act openly and speak freely. In order to get your needs met, honestly state what it is that you want. It is difficult to work with someone who is passive aggressive or is withholding information. Instead of giving your spouse the “silent treatment,” put your needs openly on the table.
- Once you agree on what it is both of you want, brainstorm solutions together. If you go through all of these steps together, the process will be easier and quicker and you will be more likely to reach a solution that will work for both of you. When a solution is on the table, be specific about what it is that will happen and what each person will have to do to make it work out. Get a verbal agreement to give it a whole-hearted try and agree to continue communicating and re-evaluating if the solution does not work.
The Four Big Uncontested Divorce Issues Covered in Mediation
When you go to mediation for your divorce case, whether it is contested or uncontested, you will need to be prepared to discuss four main issues. Whether you are settling out of court, or addressing them in court, be prepared to consider the ins and outs pertaining to each of the “big four”: property, custody, support, and debt
You and your spouse will need to decide how best and most fairly to divide assets and property. This includes all marital property, including but not limited to real estate, bank and retirement accounts, pensions, and investments. Additionally, you will need to decide how to divide outstanding debts and how they will be paid off.
This includes both physical and legal custody. The latter includes the right to make decisions related to your child’s well-being, and connected to their education, medical care, religious upbringing, etc. Physical custody is given to the primary caregiver, and as primary custodian, the child usually lives with this parent. Each type of custody can be either joint or sole. Joint legal custody is very common, as it is usually regarded best for the child when parents share the decision-making rights. Joint physical custody does not necessarily mean that the child spends equal time with both parents, but it could very well mean that he or she spends a significant time with each parent.
While this is usually in reference to child support, it can also refer to spousal support, or alimony. Georgia has specific child support guidelines which can serve as the starting point in your discussions. You will also need to complete a worksheet which will determine your eligibility to provide support to your child(ren). Spousal support is evaluated on a case by case basis and takes into consideration a variety of factors such as the length of marriage, financial contributions to the marriage, and ability to work post-divorce.
While frequently one of the last issues to come up in discussions, it is often one of the most important. Similar to marital property, marital debt will need to be addressed and allocated (divided) in a divorce case. Marital debt includes mortgages, credit cards, law suit judgments, taxes, and sometimes even student loans.
Even in an uncontested case, divorce evokes a range of emotions and entails difficult decisions. Having a compassionate yet effective legal team behind you can make all the difference in reaching your goals and having an efficient and cost-effective end to your marriage. Our uncontested divorce attorneys can answer your questions, listen to your concerns and help you devise the best plan of action specific to your case. Call 770-609-1247 to schedule a consultation and speak to one of our attorneys today. Getting answers will help you feel more comfortable with the process and ready to take the next step in the right direction. Contact>