A divorce mediation lawyer helps spouses work through difficult issues in their marriage, like property division, child custody and spousal support. The mediation process allows couples to take control of their divorce and avoid the court system, which can be long, expensive and emotionally draining.
A mediator is impartial, meaning they will listen to both sides of a case and not argue on behalf of one side. A divorce attorney, on the other hand, is obligated to advocate for their client and use legal arguments in support of their position.
The first session of mediation is often an information-gathering meeting, where the couple will discuss the issues in their divorce, such as property division and alimony. The couple may then schedule additional sessions, as needed.
If both parties feel comfortable sharing their information in a safe environment, the process can be relatively quick. Unlike litigation, which can take months to complete and involves several court hearings, a negotiated agreement is often finalized in a matter of weeks.
While the benefits of mediation are many, the process is not without its drawbacks. For example, if there is a history of domestic violence, it might be difficult for both spouses to share space together, communicate, and work through the big issues in their divorce. In addition, mediation may fail to uncover assets that a spouse is hiding and may result in poorly-drafted agreements that are unenforceable.
Despite these concerns, most divorcing couples choose to mediate. Even if they do not hire a lawyer to attend the mediation sessions, they will likely consult their own attorneys to ensure that they are not being shortchanged in their settlement agreement.