If you and your spouse are considering or have already decided to settle your divorce through mediation, then you’re probably a bit nervous about how it will play out. This ambivalence comes with the territory. Mediation involves working together on agreements that may impact the rest of your life. Even if you have an amicable relationship, you may not be looking forward to that.
In divorce mediation, a couple has a more significant role in working out their property division, child custody and any support agreements than they likely would in a litigated divorce.
Both spouses have a say in selecting their mediator, and that professional doesn’t advocate for either one of them. The mediator’s role is simply to answer questions and help couples overcome impasses that arise during negotiations. This approach allows them to identify mutually agreeable terms.
People often don’t realize that they don’t give up their right to have their own attorney at the negotiation table if they have a mediated divorce. In fact, a family law attorney can be a valuable resource as you and your spouse negotiate your divorce, especially since you’re working out complex legal agreements that you’ll have to live with. You may find it helpful to have your attorney review your settlement to ensure that it protects your interests.
What can your attorney do for you during mediation?
How much of a role personal attorneys play in mediated divorces depends on what spouses agree to. Even if you agree not to have them in the room with you during mediation, your attorney can be a valuable resource in many other ways. They can:
- Prepare you for the process and help you understand how divorce mediation works
- Help you weigh the potential impact of various agreements and settlements
- Review all documents before you sign them
- Recommend other professionals, such as financial and tax advisers, who can provide you with guidance
If you and your spouse can settle your divorce in mediation, having your own attorney can give you peace of mind and help ensure that you’re crafting the best possible agreements for yourselves and your children.