Question

Can I mediate a high-asset divorce in Georgia?

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William M. Ordway - Family Law - Super Lawyers

Answered by: William M. Ordway

Ordway Law Group, LLC
Atlanta, GA
Phone: 6785790985
Fax: 678-579-0989

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Yes, you can mediate a high-asset divorce in Georgia. Mediation is often a better option than litigation. There are several reasons for this: you know what you want more than a judge would, litigation for these types of cases can be extremely expensive, mediation can help you achieve an outcome closer to a 50-50 split and you can mediate more than once if needed, unlike with litigation. Let me explain further:

1. Mediation can allow you to achieve your preferences more easily than litigation.

In a typical divorce court proceeding, the judge will divide your property. This can cause difficulty because the judge won’t know or consider things like your preference for one asset over another, or even generalities, like if you would prefer liquid assets over real estate. In mediation, both parties can compromise, and ideally, both parties will leave satisfied with their assets.

2. Divorce litigation can take a long time and become expensive.

Any lengthy legal process can become costly, and divorce court is no different. If you have to divide a complicated marital estate in court, it can take a long time, racking up your bills. With mediation, you have to pay the mediator as well as any other experts you need, such as a forensic accountant, but it can make the process much quicker, saving you money in the long run.

3. Mediation can help you achieve closer to a 50-50 split.

Georgia is an equitable distribution state. This means that in a court scenario, the judge will try to divide things fairly, rather than strictly equally. Though this can coincide with a split that is close to equal, it’s not guaranteed. If that matters to you, mediation is a better option because you have more input on the process.

4. You can mediate more than once.

There is no do-over in court. In some cases, you can apply for a modification of things like child and spousal support, but division of assets is final. However, with mediation, you can continue the process as necessary, or mediate more than once. You can also reach a settlement before you go to court.

Mediation Takes The Tension Out Of Division Of Assets

Sometimes, people think mediation is an option only when the divorce is amicable. This is a common misconception. Mediation is perfect for contentious situations. Usually, the parties don’t even sit together. They’re in separate rooms and their respective lawyers are guiding them, while the mediator (a neutral third party) relays information. When it comes to the discovery of assets, it is best to hire a forensic accountant to evaluate assets rather than relying on the parties’ own disclosure. This, too, can minimize conflict between the parties, though some people still try to hide assets, which can make the process longer and more expensive.

Overall, if both parties are transparent with their assets, and willing to make compromises, mediation can make this difficult process quick and relatively painless.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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