Ansley Boyd Barton was educated at Emory University, Georgia State University, and
Loyola University in Chicago. She received J.D. and an M.A. degrees from Emory University, a Master of Music from Georgia State University, and a Master of Bioethics and Health Policy
from Loyola University in Chicago. She is a member of the State Bar of Georgia. Ms. Barton is the founder and principal of the conflict management consulting firm Ansley Barton, LLC. She was Professor of Conflict Management at Kennesaw State University, the first Director of KSU’s Master of Science in Conflict Management, and interim director of the KSU Center for Conflict Management. Ms. Barton was the first Director of the Georgia Supreme Court’s Office of Dispute Resolution. A mediator since 1982, she has mediated a wide range of cases.
An experienced mediation trainer, Ms. Barton has conducted mediation training at the
request of Georgia courts, federal and state agencies, in the university setting, and privately since 1992. Ms. Barton has served as a facilitator and conflict assessment consultant for departments and institutions in the University System of Georgia, for Rome and Floyd County, DeKalb County, and the Florida Court Administrative Office of the Courts. She was a member of the Georgia Supreme Court’s Dispute Resolution Commission from 2002 – 2008, and has served as a member of the Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants for the Georgia Bar Commission from May 2009 to 2019. Ms. Barton is a member of the hospital ethics committee of Floyd Medical Center and is the founder and director of the Remedy Project, a medical-legal partnership between Floyd Medical Center and Georgia Legal Services, addressing legal issues affecting patient health. She frequently serves as a Guardian ad Litem in custody cases.
I am convinced that a Guardian ad Litem can be invaluable to parents and children in complicated custody situations. By talking to perhaps the greatest number of people on both sides who have knowledge of the family and its problems, the GAL may be in a position to gather more information than the lawyers or even the judge. A recommendation from the GAL to the Court is powerful because of the number of viewpoints it encompasses. Just as the information-gathering of the GAL can be a powerful force for good, it can be a force for harm. For this reason, I am convinced that my mediation skills are the bedrock of my work as a GAL. The ability to quickly create a trusting relationship with people is crucial. Perhaps the most important skill in creating an atmosphere of trust is the ability to maintain neutrality and to reserve judgment. The ability to use neutral language and to “frame” or “reframe” the issues in a constructive way both in dealing with the parties and in writing the recommendation cannot be overemphasized. Finally, my first commitment is to do no harm – or, as I think of it, throw no gasoline on the situation.
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