Divorce Process and Options in Geogia

Want it in plain English? This short video highlights the fundamentals of the divorce process and options within it in an engaging and animated way. Settlement, litigation, mediation and arbitration are highlighted.


4 Ways to Hire a Divorce Attorney (Without Breaking the Bank)

Short, simple animated video that explains the basics of how to use an attorney effectively and in cost effective ways when contemplating or facing separation, divorce and co-parenting issues.

Two Negotiation Steps People Forget (at the Drive-Thru)!

Image There is a problem.  A lack of  aligned interests.  A need for a solution.  

Whether figuring out which drive-thru everyone in the car will accept or settling the terms of a divorce, there are two steps most people forget when attempting to get to a resolution.

“Everyone” remembers to figure out what they want, right?  But, too often, the self-interests trump all other considerations in trying to reach a compromise.  (Rookies.)

The two other steps – critical, strategic steps! – that are too often overlooked in getting to an acceptable middle ground are all about the other person/side’s perspective:

1.  What offer CAN the other person accept?


2.  What reason should they say “yes” to your offer?

When these two additional steps are taken, a party is far more prepared to get a deal that they want than attempting simply to get everything (wishful thinking) that they want.

So, how does this work in the real world?  On your road trip with the kids, you anticipate the “fast food stop.”  The next Interstate Exit has a Wendy’s, a Subway, and a Burger King.  You, the adult driver, want to run through the Wendy’s Drive-Thru…but know that the kids are Whopper Junkies.  

So, how are you going to phrase this to get them to see things your way?  Give your “phrase” to win the kids over in the comments section below.

Georgia Divorces are “Different”

ImageLook, tell a friend, tell an enemy…one state’s divorce laws are not another state’s divorce laws!

This means that getting a divorce in Georgia will involve Georgia’s laws (okay, there are some extreme exceptions to that statement, but they probably don’t apply to you).  New Jersey’s laws aren’t going to apply.  California’s laws aren’t going to apply (so stop relying on the tabloids that detail Hollywood breakups for your legal advice in Georgia).  

All kidding aside, the realities of “domestic relations” law (which includes divorce) are very state specific.  So, when looking online for information about divorce – make sure that you are looking at comments that involve your state’s legal landscape.  

In Georgia, may family law firms have incredibly rich resources on their websites about the law…for free!  Take advantage of them, and consider whether these kinds of attorneys – who are interested in informing you about the law – are right for you!  Here are a sampling of some good sites with divorce resources:








Parental Conflict: How it Can Be Harmful for Children

Parental Conflict: How it Can Be Harmful for Children.


Co-Parenting is hard.  There are so many mistakes that can be made so easily.  The benefit of using a competent “divorce focused” therapist to assist with building a Parenting Plan that anticipates more than just which day of the week the children are with each parent can be monumentally important to the parents’ overall success in raising children truly “as well as they could.”

Integrative Divorce Mediation assumes that divorce professionals – whether in the financial, legal and parenting (which can include therapists, communication coaches, educational specialists, and more) – are integrated into the mediation process.  In short, parents can use the co-mediation model whereby each “professional” serves as a neutral party (in other words, one mediator in a team of mediators) to get a comprehensive and customized solution that will serve their family holistically.

Not a bad idea, eh?

Divorce with “One Mediation,” a mediation firm in Atlanta, Georgia that specializes in family disputes and works tirelessly to educate individuals and families about their options.

When Do I Need to Update My Will?

Recently Divorced? Time to update your will…

Elder Law Update


When I began publishing this blog, an important goal was to educate the community on those issues my clients often raise, and this is definitely one of those:  When do I need to update my will?

This list is not all-inclusive, but includes some of the more common events that would require a review and possible revision of your estate planning documents (i.e. wills, trusts, financial power of attorney document(s) and/or health care directives):

1.   Birth of a child

2.   Marriage or Divorce

3.   Death of a beneficiary

4.   Significant change in personal wealth or purchase of a life insurance policy

5.   Change in applicable law (tax, trust, will, medical decision-making, etc)

6.   Moving from out-of-state

7.   Significant health issues of the testator (that is, the person who made the will) or a beneficiary, especially if it involves assisted living or skilled nursing…

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When Does Mediation Occur in the Litigation Context?

Image  A recent article from Nevada Business addresses the nuts and bolts of a typical mediation when litigation or a law suit is involved with hard facts and some well played levity.  

In the article, the author suggests that: “Mediation occurs after negotiation has reached an impasse.”   In other words, the author is suggesting that the parties’ efforts to work out the issues on their own has ground to a halt.  This chronology is often true, but not always with respect to when mediation might occur during a litigated dispute.

Attorneys often continue negotiations on a settlement or resolution right up to the minute that the mediation appointment starts and may continue to negotiation through and after the mediation concludes.  Simply put, mediation is a flexible process that can help do many things, such as:

  • Close a deal,
  • Accelerate the negotiations,
  • Identify pitfalls or information gaps that need to be addressed before more productive negotiations can occur (e.g., obtain the video, the valuation, the statement, the record, etc.),
  • Create a temporary agreement or a partial agreement, and more.

In all, parties simply do not have to wait for negotiations to end in a stalemate before participating in mediation when litigation is involved (and courts often order mediation irrespective of where negotiations or settlement discussions are).  

Contact One Mediation’s offices in Atlanta, Georgia for more information about mediation, mediation coaching, and local mediators at contact@onemediation.com or call 404-720-0599.

Mediation to Calm the Waters of Separation/Divorce

The process of teasing apart a family through separation and divorce is complicated.  Getting quick decisions from a court is nearly impossible.  Getting quick decisions directly – meaning spouse to spouse – can also be nearly impossible at times.  But, quick decisions or  even temporary arrangements often need to occur.

Mediation can be a means to accomplish those tasks “along the way.”  Sometimes it takes having someone – like a mediator – help the couple (who may be parents) pin down decisions for the next week, month, or school year when a court or lawyers may not be (or may not yet be) involved.

A hat tip to Florida Mediator James Page, his recent blog post on this item is as simple as it is spot-on.  

While mediation is not the answer to every problem, it is a tool that is readily available to individuals that is often unknown or overlooked.  Take a look at Atlanta’s “Separation Program” at One Mediation for details on how mediation can help families in transition. 


Men’s Divorce Recovery and Suicide

Divorce impacts nearly every aspect of individuals lives.  Given a choice between an IRS Audit and a Divorce – logic dictates the Audit every time!  Why?  The Audit only goes into the finances, not also monthly budgets, past-current-future purchases, parenting skills, the children’s futures and more.

The Huffington Post frequently includes articles about marital separation and divorce (kudos to them for mainstreaming it).  A recent article by a divorced father discusses the realities of divorce for a majority of men.  Noted in the article are great strategies for men to tackle divorce’s impacts, but also provides several compelling reasons for taking care.  One such reason is the statistically significant rate of suicide amongst male divorcees.

The bottom line is that this article is for everyone.  Those folks who are facing or recovering from divorce can easily isolate themselves – overwhelmed by the tasks at hand.  A caring friend or family member can pick up great tips in articles like these – it can make a major difference, potentially life altering.

Learn more about One Mediation and what it can do for families in transition at http://www.OneMediation.com.  One Mediation is a Georgia mediation firm that specialized in family law services, headquartered in Atlanta. 

Should You Defer to the Other Side’s Proposed Selection of a Mediator?

A quick “Google” on the topic of “how to select a mediator” will provide a bajillion articles…a good sample article here

Academics in the study of conflict communications and management might argue that the mediator need not understand the subject matter of the dispute (e.g., divorce, intellectual property, etc.), but can resolve any dispute by helping the parties focus on what the problem is and potential solutions.  There is truth in this stance.

Poll attorneys and many (if not most) will say that they want the mediator to know “the law” of the particular dispute.  If it is a divorce, the attorneys do not want a criminal defense attorney to serve as the mediator.  If it is a securities fraud matter, the attorneys do not want a family therapist to mediate the matter.  There is truth in this stance.

Once parties decide that they will mediate their dispute, too often they get bogged down in selecting who will mediate.  In getting knee deep in this “new dispute” of who will be the mediator, the battle of wills often is not about whether the mediator knows the subject matter or has the ability to manage conflict communications.  So, what is the right answer in this I want Mediator X; you want Mediator Y?

A heavily seasoned attorney for a global corporation spoke to the Dispute Resolution Section of the Atlanta Bar and said, off-handedly, that he didn’t really care (beyond the basics) who the mediator was and usually deferred to the other side’s desired mediator.  Why?  Two of the reasons he gave showed that he was a confident negotiator who really understood how mediation worked.

The first reason for deferring to the other side’s choice of mediators was that he could use any (any) mediator to do what needed to be done.  As a mediator, I think this statement is brilliant.  If a mediator is truly a neutral party and you are truly prepared to negotiate, you can and will use the mediator to help work with your client, to share messages with the other side, and to retrieve information from the other side, as needed.  Simply put, effectively using a mediator meant that he understood just how flexible the mediation process is and how creatively he could use the mediator (when you plan ahead or have significant experience negotiating) to get the settlement done.  Deal closed!

The second reason for deferring to the other side’s choice of mediators was that, since he knew how to use any mediator, he gained (or, perhaps, didn’t lose) a psychological advantage, if you will.  He noted that if the other side “didn’t get their way” on who the mediator was, the other party may arrive at mediation more emotionally charged than they otherwise would have been because they suffered a “loss,” even before the mediation session started.  The other party may also believe that the mediator is or will be more biased towards the other side, an opinion that may provoke the other side to be more aggressive, emotionally reactive, and ready to give up on negotiations more quickly because the odds were stacked against them from the outset.  

The bottom line is that in selecting a mediator, a factor that is often not discussed is the value of “giving in” to the other side on who the mediator will be.  So long as the mediator is worth his or her salt, deferring to the selection of the other side may be a strategic move towards setting the mediation up for success rather than failure.