Divorcing people who are considering divorce mediation often don't understand that they will still need to hire their own personal divorce attorney.
Mediation allows you and your spouse to try to reach a fair settlement with the help of a third, neutral party (ie, the “mediator”).
Mediators are usually lawyers.
However, mental health professionals, clergy, or other professionals trained in divorce mediation techniques can also be divorce mediators.
The function of the mediator is to help you and your spouse identify and resolve issues.
But…mediators cannot give either you or your spouse legal advice.
A divorce mediator is not a substitute for having your own lawyer.
The mediator’s role is to help you and your spouse communicate and reach an agreement, if possible.
Your lawyer’s role is to make sure that your legal rights are protected, both during the mediation process and after it ends.
It is also your lawyer’s role to make the actual divorce happen for you after you have worked out the terms in mediation, and to protect you during that process.
Mediation is confidential, allows you and your spouse to make the decisions (instead if having a judge make them for you), and can be less expensive than litigating in divorce court.
It also allows you to potentially reach an agreement with your spouse that is more customized than the decision you might receive from a judge after a trial.
In many cases, each party agrees to be responsible for her or his own attorney’s fees, as well as half of the mediator’s fees.