Mediator Profile

Maria is an experienced mediator and has been registered with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution since 2004 and is a member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators. Maria is the founder of an educational consulting company , is an author of education and parenting articles, adult training curriculum , early learning handbooks and more. She a has presented seminars for the 7th district mediation office, Paulding CASA, United Way, and other professional organizations across the state. She specializes in issues pertaining to children, parenting goals, domestic violence, crisis intervention, and parenting plans. Maria mediates in Polk, Haralson, Douglas, and Paulding counties. Her practice includes private mediation, court connected mediation in Juvenile and Superior court and mediation with cases involving domestic violence or complex parenting plans.

About Mediation?

Mediation can be used for all types of conflict, however it is particularly useful in the context of divorce and family disputes. Here are some reasons why:


Mediation is often quicker, less expensive and private. There is no stress of having to face a judge in a formal courtroom setting and talk about your personal financial issues and your personal family life. Whatever is said at mediation, stays at mediation. It is confidential, unlike a court hearing where testimony is put into public record and anyone can come in and sit down and listen to you and soon to be ex-spouse fighting over your divorce issues. You have control over decisions without the court intervening.


If you are contemplating a divorce or having trouble settling divorce issues with your spouse, mediation might be the best choice for you and your spouse to settle your divorce issues in a more amicable fashion with less stress on you and other family members, including your children. Remember that divorce also takes a toll on children and affects other family members including your pets. Being able to settle issues quickly can help children and other family members adjust to the divorce process as well.


Mediation Benefits

It's a less adversarial process. A neutral mediator assists parties in arriving at a mutually acceptable agreement, but, in contrast to an adversarial proceeding, mediation emphasizes cooperative problem solving and addressing the needs of all involved. The mediator can help raise points that an attorney would not be free to raise for strategic reasons and he or she may help the parties view issues from a neutral standpoint with a focus on resolving the dispute, rather than validating one party's position and seeking to "win". A mediator can minimize side arguments and avoid the adversarial positioning between attorneys, while concentrating everyone's efforts towards a mutually satisfactory conclusion. Resolve your issues by communicating rather than fighting, working as a team, rather than engaging in battle.
Sustainable Plans and Solutions. In contrast to the adversarial nature of the traditional litigation system, mediation seeks to improve parties' understanding of each other and their ability to communicate. In the context of divorcing or separating parents who will need to co-parent for years to come, emerging from a divorce with the ability to communicate effectively and with respect is especially important. You may also return to your same mediator if conflicts arise in the future. Your mediator can help moderate, settle disputes and clarify or modify your agreement as time goes by. Your mediator already knows your agreement, is attuned to your families' issues and dynamic and can be on standby, able to quickly step in when you need it.
It protects children from conflict. Custody trials usually require your children to be interviewed and observed by several experts. Your children may even be required to appear at court. The animosity between parents can increase significantly while embroiled in an adversarial process, which can expose children to increased conflict, verbal attacks and tension, leading to stress, confusion and long-lasting damage. A mediator can help educate parties in a neutral manner and keep the focus on the children's needs, while engaging parents in a more sensitive and less inflammatory process.
It's less costly. You and your spouse will typically pay one professional who is dedicated to helping you both reach a resolution. You will pay for meetings rather than waiting time at court. You will not pay for the costly drafting of motion papers back and forth and the accompanying court appearances. Lengthy divorce battles and trials have led to the financial ruin of many families. Divorcing families already have enough financial strain. Pay for your child's college education, not your lawyer's child.
There is faster resolution. We have become accustomed to instant gratification in our society, but that is traditionally not how the courts work. Depending on the case and issues being litigated, the parties availability, and many other issues, litigation could take months. In mediation, parties set their own timeframe for resolving issues and often times come to agreement on many ( if not all ) issues during the mediation process. If an agreement is met on any or all issues during mediation, it is advised a licensed and State Bar approved attorney review any documents prior to signature.
There is greater confidentiality. Communications, documents and work notes made or used in mediation are privileged and confidential. At court, you will argue your case in a public courtroom in front of a judge, officers and court employees as well as other litigants and attorneys. It is dreadful to have your children and problems discussed in a room full of strangers, or in front of people in your community.
There are more opportunities for a creative, tailored family plan. Mediating parties do not have to work within the confines of the litigation system as far as process or result. Sticking points particular to you can be addressed more in-depth in your mediation session and in your final agreement, which can lead to more effective co-parenting post-divorce.
You control the discussion and the outcome. You choose the topics that you want to discuss and settle. You, not the court, have final say over the terms of your agreement. Important decisions about you and your children are not left in the hands of strangers.
You get more personal attention. The mediation process allows you to speak and be heard. You work directly with your mediator, who will propose and get a consensus on the resolution process, elicit, explore and generate options, help you negotiate, refine decision-making and arrive at a final agreement.
There is greater flexibility. Mediators are more able to work around your family's busy schedule, as opposed to a court, with its rigid operating hours and overflowing dockets. Mediation can even work when parties desire to mediate their disputes but cannot do so while in the same room.


What do I bring to mediation?

Although Mediators do not consider evidence, give legal advice, or evaluate financial records, it could be important for you to bring this type of information to assist the other party in understanding your issues.


  1. Most recent bank statements (checking, savings, pensions)
  2. Most recent investment statements (pension, IRA, 401K, Money Market)
  3. Recent check stub with year to date income information
  4. Previous year's tax information with final payment on refund info
  5. Projected budget for expenses post divorce
  6. Information regarding present medical insurance coverage
  7. Information regarding present life insurances coverage, if any
  8. Copy of a bill for day care or education expenses for your children
  9. Any credit card debt information including a recent statement for each card
  10. Mortgage balance and how the house is titled (equity and payoff)
  11. Any other debt information
  12. Information on vehicles, any balance owed, how cars are titled
  13. Parenting plan and child support worksheet




P.O. Box 1048, Temple, Georgia

(770) 313-0129 | (866) 365-3965 (FAX)

Academy Of Professional Family Mediators