DIVORCE 911 consulted with Jennifer Keaton of 2 Step Divorces for this blog. We also have a video covering this topic.
There are 3 ways that people would typically use a lawyer in a divorce mediation.
- Your attorney is with you in the mediation room helping you negotiate as well as helping you draft the documents. The lawyer is also there, full on. However, we pay attorneys by the hour so it can be expensive to do it that way.
- Another option is that some attorneys are willing to let individuals go to mediation by themselves. The attorney would be on speed dial “waiting in the wings” so that no document is signed without personally being seen by the attorney. This allows them to not be sitting at the mediation table at hundreds of dollars per hour. The mediator will be involved in a caucus amongst the parties. A caucus is performed by having discrete discussions with one party then meeting with the other spouse and back and forth until all parties are satisfied.
- The third way is drafting. Drafting the documents or reviewing the documents to see if it’s a good deal, if they missed anything, and are these documents correct and what else (if anything) needs to be addressed. Basically, this is reaching your own agreement tentatively. Then you would take those documents to legal counsel to polish up and get their blessing. If there needs to be some “massaging” of the terms, that can still occur. You get the benefit of legal counsel without necessarily paying full retail for the attorney to be at the table. It’s not for everyone but it’s certainly an option that’s out there.
There are so many experts and team members that are going to be a part of this divorce process. You need to use them most effectively. Many times people are going to rely on perhaps the most expensive portion of their divorce, i.e.: the divorce attorney. We love them, they do a great job, and they’re a critical piece of the process. However, we have found that when you assemble the correct legal, financial, emotional, real estate and coaching divorce care team from the beginning, your time and money is used most effectively. These experts will be providing your due diligence, information, education, and resources so that you are prepared for your attorney and your mediation.