Consulting attorneys play a role in divorce mediation
So you’ve decided to mediate your divorce. Do you still need a lawyer?
Mediators inform but don’t advise
Mediation is not a substitution for legal advice. Mediators can and should give accurate legal information to ensure you’re making informed choices. That said, a mediator cannot say what is best for you or what you should do.
Consulting attorneys help prepare you for mediation
I generally encourage and think the best practice is for people to meet with an attorney at the beginning of the mediation process. The role of the consulting attorney is to ensure you are prepared for your mediation and have a good sense of your case and options. Establishing a relationship with the consulting attorney at the beginning enables you to call them during the process if you have any questions or concerns. The consulting attorney will already know your case and be able to give your answers relatively quickly and alert you if any red flags come up.
A consulting attorney will draft paperwork to document agreements made during divorce mediation
If you reach a full agreement during the process, you will be able to either have your consulting attorney draft your paperwork or have him or her review the paperwork the mediator drafts. Before you sign anything, you can have your consulting attorney ensure the paperwork accurately reflects what you believe it should.
It is important for you to choose a consulting attorney who is supportive of the mediation process. Generally, mediators will have a list of attorneys they know will also have the goal of keep you out of court. Consulting attorneys usually will help you on an hourly basis instead of asking for a large retainer up front. This will help you get the legal advice you need while also keeping your costs low.
Always choose a consulting attorney who supports mediation
Participating in mediation while consulting with an attorney gives you the best of both worlds: you are actively working with your ex to come up with a tailored agreement for the unique needs of your family while still having the peace of mind you have spoken with a lawyer and your rights are covered.
Here is another article that explains what to look for when hiring a consulting attorney: Mediation: Do you need a lawyer?