Even when couples are getting along, divorce is never easy. However, if you and your spouse agree on most everything, you might benefit from a divorce mediator. Usually, this professional is not an attorney but a neutral facilitator. Even if your divorce mediator is an attorney, this person cannot make decisions or rulings on behalf of you or your spouse regarding legal issues. Of course, if you have reached the point of no return, hiring an attorney is strongly recommended.
If divorce is imminent but you and your spouse are not bickering, consider sitting down with a divorce mediator in an effort to reach an agreement on the various aspects of divorce, such as spousal support, division of property, child custody, and child support.
Although the process is much the same for all mediators, each professional handles things slightly differently. For example, some divorce mediators prefer having both parties in the same room while others like to have private conversations with the spouses individually. Regardless, no legal advice is offered.
To finalize the divorce, you still need to consult with an attorney. However, by working with a mediator, all the legalities can be ironed out. Therefore, the divorce proceedings are smoother, faster, and often less expensive. However, due to multiple legal issues, it is important to have a divorce attorney review the reached settlement. That way, you fully understand the final terms. In addition, if something seems lopsided, your attorney will make the appropriate recommendations and hold additional meetings to get both parties on board.
Divorce Mediator versus Divorce Attorney
Rather than take sides or provide legal advice, a divorce mediator encourages better communication between you and your spouse. As a result, reaching an amicable solution is much easier and less stressful.
In comparison, an attorney handles the actual divorce proceedings in a court of law. It is important for you and your spouse to have separate attorneys. The reason is that your attorney is your ally and advisor, someone who negotiates during the divorce proceedings and advises you on certain aspects of the law. In court, your attorney will fight to ensure you get what is fair.
Obviously, there are definite advantages in using a divorce mediator, but there are also a few disadvantages to consider. For instance, if one party has more power than the other, a mediator would probably not be beneficial to the person with the least amount of power. In addition, if one spouse has experienced mental, physical, or emotional abuse at the hands of the other spouse, an attorney is needed as opposed to a mediator.
Another disadvantage is that if one spouse were to withhold vital information during mediation, there would be no legal recourse in court. Using a divorce mediator depends on your situation. If things are going smoothly, this is certainly a viable option. Even then, you need to consult with a reputable divorce attorney so everything can be finalized.