When you get divorced, there are numerous people who will work with you throughout the process, helping you get everything settled. However, not every one of these people has the same goals as you or is completely on your side. Two of the most often confused roles are the divorce mediation person and your divorce attorney. Here is everything you need to know about the differences between the two, and why you need both.
Who They Work For
Typically, when you and your ex aren’t able to come to an agreement together on your own, you have the option to go through divorce mediation before taking your case to court. There are independent private mediators (retired judges or family law practioners) but most of the time, you will use a court-appointed mediator to try to resolve your differences and avoid a court battle.
In contrast, you hire a divorce attorney yourself to represent your case. Most of the time you’ll take this step long before you get to the point of needing mediation, but it helps to have an attorney in your corner. Ultimately, though, your lawyer works for you, and your ex has their own lawyer who works for them.
Even more important, is the role in your divorce. Divorce mediation is an attempt to resolve unsettled issues without the need of an expensive, drawn out court battle, so a mediator is always a neutral third party. Because they don’t have ties to either spouse, they can help negotiate a compromise that both parties can agree to.
Your attorney, on the other hand, is there to watch out for your interests. Ideally, you hired them at the beginning of the divorce proceedings, so they’re fully aware of the issues going into mediation. While the mediator is going to try to guide everyone to a compromise, your attorney will be there to make sure that any compromise made in mediation is fair to you and in the best interests of your children.
Their Ongoing Relationship To Your Case
Divorce mediation takes up a relatively small time period over the course of your divorce. Negotiations have likely been ongoing for some time before you meet with a mediator, and there still is plenty to do after mediation is finished. Your mediator is a part of your divorce for a rather short period of time, all said and done.
Your attorney is the one who is with you over the long haul. Hopefully you brought them in early in the proceedings, and even after mediation is over, they’ll still be in the picture for a long time afterward. If mediation is unable to bring both you and your ex to an agreement, your lawyer will present your case in court, where the judge will make a final decision. Either way, once a divorce agreement is finalized, your attorney will help finalize anything else that remains to be done.
The Importance of a Good Divorce Attorney
As you prepare for divorce mediation, don’t make the mistake of thinking that a mediator and divorce attorney are interchangeable or do the same job. To ensure you don’t get taken advantage of, it’s important to have an experienced attorney in your corner. To discuss your case and how you could benefit from legal representation during mediation, contact Simon Law Group, PLLC, today.