As one begins to prepare for a divorce, one may look into the various options that are available to them. A person may be confused about some aspects of divorce proceedings when they are trying to gather information about the process, such as the differences between a mediator and an attorney. While most people assume that hiring an attorney is the only route for a divorce, this is not necessarily true. If someone is seeking to make the transition of divorce go as smoothly as possible, mediators can play a vital role in ensuring a divorce goes this way. If you are going through or considering divorce or know someone who is, you may have some questions about the benefits and differences between a divorce mediator vs. attorney.
While an attorney may be the first thing that comes to mind when one files for a divorce, they may not be the best option for you in the long run. The attorney’s goal is to represent their client to ensure their client ultimately comes out on top at the end of the divorce process, regardless of how it affects their spouse.
You will have to pay an attorney a large retainer of thousands of dollars to cover the cost of your representation. Divorce attorneys are usually paid an hourly rate. They and their staff charge for every phone, call, email, letter, copy, or anything they do concerning your case well before you even get into court. Then once you get to court, you often spend hours waiting with the attorney to hear your case, and you get charged for that, and the time it takes your attorney to argue your case before the court.
Mediators work with people to help them reach a settlement that is a compromise to serve the overall best interest of everyone involved. Communication with each party is key if you want your divorce process to be a smooth transition. A mediator is essential in facilitating communication between spouses by helping the parties to listen to each other express their needs and wants and helping them navigate different options to help the couple get an idea of where they need or want to go. In doing so, the mediator helps the parties from a neutral perspective reach a compromise and settlement with which both can be content. Mediators can also come from various backgrounds, including therapists, though a law degree is required in some states for them to operate.
In general, another difference between a divorce mediator vs. attorney is that mediation is generally less expensive than most lawyers or litigation. Most mediators charge a flat fee that usually covers several mediation sessions to discuss various issues, such as how to distribute the couple’s property or custody arrangements. For their flat fee, the mediator also generally reduces the couple’s agreement to writing to help them finalize their divorce. If a mediator is not a lawyer, you may have to take your written agreement to always afterward to help you finalize your divorce.
The mediator’s job is to hear the desires of both sides and help both parties compromise to reach an agreement. An attorney/mediator can help the parties create a legally binding written contract encompassing their entire agreement to become part of their divorce decree. The attorney/mediator can then help the parties navigate the finalization of their divorce through the courts once the written agreement is signed. In this way, an attorney/mediator can make a divorce proceeding that could end up being a smooth transition upon which all parties can agree.
If you are interested in a consultation to discuss the options available to resolve your divorce, custody issues, support, or equitable distribution issues, please contact me and I can help you investigate your options. Call me, Lenore M.J. Myers, at 215-470-3121 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.