Alternative Dispute Resolution

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an informal process whereby a neutral third party assists people in resolving their disputes.          

The mission of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is to promote the administration of justice by assisting courts and parties with a dispute resolution method for resolving disputes that conserves human and monetary resources.

Do you want to find out if your case is appropriate for mediation? If so, call today! Help us to help you!

ADR Standing Court Order as of January 3, 2011


Did you know?

The Georgia Constitution of 1983 mandated that the judicial branch of government provide “speedy, efficient, and inexpensive resolution of disputes and prosecutions”.

Then, in 1990 the Georgia Supreme Court established the Joint Commission on Alternative Dispute Resolution under the joint leadership of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the President of the State Bar of Georgia to study the possibility of the availability of a statewide court-annexed or court-ordered alternative dispute resolution.

After several years of studying, the Joint Commission recommendations to the Georgia Supreme Court formed the basis for Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Rules, which the court promulgated in October 1992.

On February 25, 1993, the Joint Commission on Alternative Dispute Resolution completed its work. The Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution and The Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution, both created by the Supreme Court ADR Rules began its work on the development of ADR programs in the Georgia Courts.

On April 27, 1993, Governor Zell Miller signed into law legislation providing funding of ADR programs through a filing fee surcharge. By doing this, Georgia courts implemented programs that make ADR processes available to litigants throughout Georgia.

The length of time to successfully mediate a domestic case is determined by a combination of several factors: the number and complexity of the issues, the negotiation styles of the parties and their attorneys, and how prepared the parties are to discuss the issues. For the first mediation session, parties may either coordinate the date, time and choice of mediator or contact the Mediation Center at (912) 354-6686 where the staff will assign a mediator from their volunteer staff and schedule the case the first available time slot. In the event parties choose a private mediator, fees are assessed by the private mediator and shared equally between the parties unless otherwise agreed. However, if the Mediation Center assigns a mediator, the costs of the mediation session will be equally divided and will be $175.00 per party. (Fee waivers or reductions are available to those parties utilizing the Mediation Center who may qualify. Fee waiver and reduction applications can be obtained from the ADR Office or on-line and must be completed at least three (3) days prior to the ADR session.) While parties are only required to attempt one mediation session, additional sessions can be scheduled at the request of both parties. Although some cases are settled with one mediation session, other cases may take multiple sessions to resolve all issues involved.

In order to get the most out of the mediation process and better utilize your time and money, you should be well prepared for the mediation session. Since the mediator's role is to remain neutral and impartial, he/she knows very little about your case prior to the session. The mediator comes to the session with basic information on the parties and an idea of what issues may be in dispute (i.e., custody, visitation, property division, etc.). The mediator relies upon the parties to supply the information necessary for an educated discussion of the issues. For example, if the parties want to decide what happens to the marital home, in order to discuss possible solutions, the mediator and parties must know its current value, what is owed on it, etc. The mediator cannot work without this information. If you do not have it, the mediator may stop the session and reschedule when the information is available. If the first session is canceled and rescheduled for this reason, the parties will still be responsible for the mediation fees.

The best way to prepare for mediation is to gather all the papers that are important to the dispute. In domestic actions (divorce, modifications, contempts, paternity), depending upon what issues are to be discussed, you should bring the following:

Issue Bring the following items:
   
Equitable Division of Property: SWORN FINANCIAL AFFIDAVITS OF BOTH PARTIES ARE REQUIRED.
Real Estate Description and location of the property. Something to show value of property (tax bill, appraisal, Realtor's statement). Statements showing original mortgage amount, as well as current balance, payment, and interest rate. Any information about second mortgages or home equity loans.
Personal Property Detailed list of all property to be divided and value of each item. (Include all household items)
Vehicles/Boats/etc. Description and current value of item. Include loan information or lease information.
Checking/Savings Accounts; Investments Description of the plan type and amount (i.e. pension plan, profit sharing plan, 401K plan, employee's stock ownership plan (ESOP), government plan, etc.). Bring a Summary Plan Description - available through Administrator.
Life Insurance Description of types, policy numbers and amounts of all policies.
Debts Statements of all debt including credit cards, store accounts, vehicle payments, personal debt and any other type debt.
   
Spousal Support: SWORN DOMESTIC RELATIONS FINANCIAL AFFIDAVITS OF BOTH PARTIES ARE REQUIRED.
Children's Issues:  
  • Child Support
    (INCLUDING MODIFICATIONS)
SWORN FINANCIAL AFFIDAVITS OF BOTH PARTIES ARE REQUIRED. Confirmation of all income - bring paycheck stubs, income tax return.
  • Child Custody/ Visitation
Bring preferences of the holiday schedule. Bring description of all health insurance including type of coverage, deductibles and amounts of co- payments.
   
Attorney's Fees: SWORN FINANCIAL AFFIDAVITS OF BOTH PARTIES ARE REQUIRED.

 

CHILDREN ARE NOT ALLOWED AT THE MEDIATION SESSION.
ALTERNATIVE ARRANGEMENTS MUST BE MADE FOR CHILDCARE

Most divorces and modifications cases involve issues, which require you bring a financial affidavit (see above). If you have not completed your financial affidavit, contact your attorney or this office prior to the mediation session to complete one. FAILURE TO BRING A FINANCIAL AFFIDAVIT COULD RESULT IN A NONCOMPLIANCE WITH THE ADR ORDER.

If your case involves a modification of a final decree, please bring a copy of the final decree, which has been filed with the Superior Court.

We cannot cover all of the possible issues, which may be discussed during the mediation session, nor can we list all the necessary documents, which may apply in your particular case. If you have questions about how to prepare for the mediation session, please feel free to contact the ADR office at above numbers and/or addresses.

 
© Copyright 2014 - Chatham County Courts