Divorce mediation is becoming increasingly common. As a result, many divorce attorneys have started donning the hat of divorce mediation lawyers in an attempt to assist their clients resolve the various issues of the divorce through mediation. As a divorce mediation lawyer, the divorce attorney wears many hats – legal advisor, legal consultant and legal coach.
Mediation or structured negotiation as it is sometime called is an informal and private alternative to settling the issues of a divorce through litigation. In mediation an impartial and neutral third party known as the mediator helps the spouses reach an agreement on the various issues of the divorce. The mediator can only help resolve the issues but cannot compel the parties to accept the settlement. The benefit of mediation is that it enables the parties to come to a settlement that is best suited for their specific circumstances whereas the court will strictly follow the provisions of the law which may not be the best possible resolution.
Mediation can effectively resolve the issues of a divorce. It can take several sessions to reach an agreement. There are different stages to mediation – it starts with introduction, followed by information gathering which is followed by private sessions with the mediator after which the negotiation starts and finally the issues are resolved.
Role of Divorce Mediation Lawyers
Although the parties to divorce mediation do not need any legal expertise, complications can always arise. You should always talk to an attorney before you start the mediation. By consulting with an attorney you will understand the legal issues involved in your divorce and your various options. An attorney can help you in many ways including:
• Informing you about the mediation rules and procedure
• Assist you choose a competent mediator
• Prepare you for the mediation
• Answer any questions that you may have about the mediation
• Advice you on your various options
• Review any information you provide the attorney
• Review a proposed settlement
• Assist you decide if the proposed settlement is in your best interest
• Prepare and file the divorce papers and the settlement agreement in the court
Choosing Divorce Mediation Lawyers
Most attorneys are licenses to practice law in a specific state. However not all licensed attorneys can offer advice on divorce mediation. If you want to choose a divorce mediation lawyer, here are a few things you should consider:
• Experience and Understanding: The lawyer must be experienced in divorce mediation. You will need advice from the lawyer to help you reach an agreement. An experienced lawyer knows that the solution provided under the statutes might not necessarily be your best solution.
• Support for Mediation: The lawyer must support mediation. If the lawyer is hostile towards mediation, then you can rest assured that you are wasting your time and the mediation will not be a success.
• Practice: Choose a lawyer who specializes in divorce law. While other lawyers can also work as a mediator, divorce law is complex and divorce lawyers are better versed with the divorce laws than other lawyers.
Locating a Divorce Mediation Lawyer
The best way to locate a divorce mediation lawyer is referrals. Ask some you know who has been through divorce mediation for recommendation. You can also contact the local bar association for recommendations. You can also use a legal directory to locate one.
Divorce Mediation Lawyer Fee
Generally, a divorce mediation lawyer will not require a retainer. Instead you will be asked to pay by the hour. The hourly rate can be in the $250 to $500 range but can be higher or lower depending on where the lawyer is located. Some of them will agree to a negotiated fee arrangement.