Divorce Mediation Lawyers and Divorce Mediation
The use of mediation in divorce cases has become an increasing trend. And the popularity of mediation has shifted the role of attorneys from representing their clients in divorce proceedings to acting as divorce mediation lawyers to help clients achieve mediation success. In the new role of divorce mediation lawyers---attorneys serve as a lawyer coaches, legal consultants, and legal advisers in the mediation process.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation, also called structured negotiation, is a private and informal alternative to settling disputes in court. In mediation, a neutral third party helps the parties reach an agreeable resolution. Unlike a judge or jury, the mediator may not force the parties to accept a settlement; the job of the mediator is only to help the parties reach an agreement. Mediation allows the parties to reach an agreement that is best for their situation rather than what the law dictates. There are some rights, however, that the parties cannot give up.
Because the mediator works directly with the parties, mediation is an effective way to resolve disputes that arise in divorce settlements. It often takes several mediation sessions before the parties reach an agreement. Mediation typically occurs in several stages: introduction, information gathering, private caucuses with the mediator, negotiation, and the final resolution.
How Can Divorce Mediation Lawyers Help in Divorce Mediation?
Although mediation does not require the parties to have any legal expertise, complexities may still arise. It is best to consult with a legal adviser before beginning mediation. Consultation is an effective way to gain an understanding of the legal issues, evaluate options, and gather information that can help the process move smoothly. In a mediated divorce, a legal adviser can help in the following ways:
- Explain the rules and procedures of mediation
- Help select a mediator
- Prepare a client for mediation
- Answer questions that arise during mediation
- Offer solutions
- Analyze information
- Advise a client whether to accept a proposed agreement
- Review a proposed agreement
- Prepare divorce papers after the parties reach an agreement
How to Select Qualified Divorce Mediation Lawyers
Most legal advisers are lawyers licensed to practice law in a particular state. Not every licensed lawyer, however, is qualified to offer a client advice about divorce mediation. When choosing a lawyer, consider the following:
- The lawyer's experience and understanding of mediation. A lawyer with mediation experience is more likely to give advice that will help lead to an agreeable settlement. Experienced mediation lawyers understand that the solution provided by the law is not always the best resolution in a dispute.
- Whether the lawyer supports mediation. A lawyer with a hostile attitude toward mediation may give adversarial advice or even attempt to influence the client to stop mediation in favor a contested court case. For example, because mediation is about compromise, advice that benefits one spouse but is a disadvantageous to the other spouse may stifle negotiations.
- Whether the lawyer practices divorce law. Most experienced divorce lawyers are knowledgeable about mediation and will likely have experience working as a consultant. In many states, lawyers can obtain certifications in specialty areas. Consider hiring a lawyer with a certification in divorce or family law.
What Do Divorce Mediation Lawyers Charge?
Legal advisers charge by the hour and do not require a retainer. Depending on the location of the adviser, fees typically range from $250 to $500. In some situations, the lawyer may consent to a negotiated fee arrangement. The lawyer, for instance, may agree to reduce the fee for a low-income client or for a member of a prepaid legal plan.
Start Today with a Free Case Evaluation
Sometimes lawyers are a necessity. Divorce mediation is one of those imperatives. Your divorce lawyer will be able to make recommendations on your behalf and advocate for you during this difficult time period. Start today by getting the facts of your specific case reviewed for free initially and at no obligation to you.