Avoiding Mediation Mistakes

Posted by Diane Cherry, Managing Partner | Jun 16, 2022

Georgia divorce negotiations

In Georgia, every case has to be mediated before trial.  That's a good thing.

Mediators tend to be smart, knowledgeable, and very skilled at helping parties reach out of court settlements.  Mediation is expensive but trial is far more expensive and the outcome is uncertain.

Mediations are oftentimes successful and result in settlement agreements. However settlement agreements drafted during mediation have to be properly drafted to make sure they will be enforceable.  Otherwise, the agreement may be attacked as vague or incomplete and may result in even more litigation.

When you go to mediation, don't take any shortcuts.  Carefully discuss every issue of concern to you and make certain that the issues are addressed the final, written settlement agreement.  In other words, make sure it is in writing!

Don't leave anything out or anything unsaid.  Be sure to cover everything in writing. And be sure your agreement is complete and precise as to all essential terms.  Most importantly, make sure you include savings clause language in your settlement agreement acknowledging that the agreement is a final and binding agreement as to all issues even if the parties has left some minor terms to fill in after the mediation.

Oftentimes, a party will feel good about a settlement until they get home and start sharing the details with friends and family.  That's when doubts arise and “buyer's remorse” sets in.

If you haven't covered everything in your mediation agreement, you risk having the agreement thrown out and having to go back to square one.   Be clear about what you want and want you are willing to agree to.

Understand that a well-written mediation agreement is binding on all parties and will end your case.   And don't try to cut corners or rush to end mediation.  If you reach agreement at mediation, you want to walk out the door with a binding and enforceable settlement agreement.

About the Author

Diane Cherry, Managing Partner

I am an Atlanta area Family Law Attorney who has represented hundreds of clients in federal and state courts and administrative hearing cases throughout the State of Georgia.


Separation and divorce are often the most difficult times of a person's life. Our family law experts are dedicated to representing every client with integrity, dedication, and with the understanding that you are trusting us to help resolve your divorce or family law matter as if you were a member of our family.

Marietta Office
770-444-3376 (fax)
Mon: 08:00am - 05:30pm
Tue: 08:00am - 05:30pm
Wed: 08:00am - 05:30pm
Thu: 08:00am - 05:30pm
Fri: 08:00am - 05:30pm