Superior Court Administration
COBB COUNTY GOVERNMENT
ADR - Mediation
In January 1993 the Cobb County Superior Court judges enacted a local rule of court creating the largest court-annexed mediation program in the state of Georgia. Mediation offers a non-adversarial environment in which parties can come together in an effort to settle their dispute. General civil and domestic relations cases which could potentially be resolved by mediation are referred to the program upon the filing of an answer or the entrance of appearance by an attorney.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process during which a trained mediator acts as a neutral third party and facilitates settlement discussions between individuals in conflict. The mediator has no authority to make a decision or impose a settlement upon the parties. The mediator attempts to focus the attention of the parties upon their needs and interests rather than upon rights and positions. Although in court-annexed or court-referred mediation programs the parties may be ordered to attend a mediation session, any settlement is entirely voluntary. In the absence of settlement, the parties retain their right to take their conflict before a judge or jury.
What are the Benefits of Mediation?
Mediation allows you to control your own dispute and resolve the problem yourself, rather than having a judge or jury decide it for you. It promotes communication and cooperation. It is confidential, avoiding public disclosure of personal problems, and it can be completed in less time than litigation, allowing you to move ahead with your life. In a mediation session, everyone has the opportunity to voice their concerns and the privilege of speaking without interruption. Mediation encourages the parties to develop alternative ways of solving the issues at hand.
What is the Mediators Role?
The mediator has a duty to the parties to be honest, unbiased and to act in good faith. The mediators help parties involved in the dispute talk to each other and reach an agreement that is satisfactory to both parties. The mediator manages your mediation session, and facilitates the parties in reaching the best solution; however, the parties retain the ultimate decision-making power. Integrity, impartiality and professional competence are essential qualifications for any mediator.
Approximately 100 to 125 cases are referred per month to the mediation program with an overall settlement rate of 63% and a domestic settlement rate of 69%.
How do you Select a Mediator?
When selecting your mediator, please refer to a current listing of mediators certified by the Cobb county superior court. There are currently 189 domestic mediators and 145 civil mediators on the approved list of mediators. All parties must agree upon which mediator will conduct their mediation session. If the parties cannot agree on a mutual mediator, one will be assigned to them. Mediators my submit a current resume which will be kept on file and made available in the mediation office. Current mediator lists for both domestic and civil cases are available in the Mediation Office.
Scheduling your Mediation
From the date a court case is referred to the mediation program, the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney, must contact the mediation office with the name of the certified mediator, the date, the time and location of the mediation session. All of this information must be agreed upon by all parties involved. Failure to notify the mediation office within the 10 day time limit will result in the appointment of a certified mediator by the mediation office form a rotational list. A date, time and location for the mediation session will also be scheduled, none of which will be changed unless good cause is shown to the assigned judge.
Rescheduling or Cancellations
The mediator must be notified at least 48 hours in advance (not including weekends or holidays) of any rescheduling or cancellations, for whatever reason, regardless of whether relief has been granted by the court. If proper notice is not given, the mediator has the option to charge a cancellation fee.
Confidentiality of Mediation
The mediator shall preserve and maintain discussion of any information pertaining to the actual content of the case from anyone outside of the mediation session. However, procedural issues may need clarification from the mediation office.
Court personnel or other observers will be held to the same level of confidentiality as is required of the mediator and the parties themselves. Mediation coordinators may be present strictly for the purpose of upholding the high standards of the mediation program and will in no way be reporting the contents of the mediation to any judicial officer.
Cost of Mediation
The parties are encouraged to upon compensation for the mediator at the beginning of the mediation conference. Typically, the fee is split by the parties at the time of the mediation. Mediator’s charge between $95 and $350 per hour with the average being $175 an hour. If a party feels they may qualify as indigent according to the Georgia guidelines for indigence, they may apply for a waiver of the mediation fee. Applications for indigence must be made through the mediation office prior to the scheduled mediation conference. Each application for indigence will be reviewed and may be subject to reimbursement of the mediation fee after the settlement of the case, should a party's financial status improve.
Where is the ADR/Mediation Office?
The ADR/Mediation Office is located on the 3rd floor of the judicial center in the Superior Court annex.
Who Should I Bring to the Mediation?
New spouses, close friends, parents are all important people in your life. However, the mediation process will involve only the parties in dispute, and the presence of other parties can create animosity and ill feelings even before the conference begins. Children should not be brought to the mediation session.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Mediation is not a substitute for independent legal advise. Lawyers can help their clients understand the law, make informed agreements, and complete the legal process. The mediator focuses on helping participants reach their own agreements and does not represent either party.
Attorneys are encouraged to attend the mediation sessions, but their presence is not required.
How do I Become a Mediator for Cobb County?
In order to become certified to mediate in Cobb County Superior Court the individuals must meet strict educational requirements in addition to attending and extensive training program.
ADR - Mediation Forms
(available for download - PDF format)
Further information regarding the Cobb County Superior Court Mediation Program may be obtained by calling the ADR/Mediation Office at (770) 528-1812.