One of the biggest benefits of mediation is that both parties control the final outcome of their divorce case. But even if your divorce is an amicable one, there are bound to be issues that arise where you wonder what the best course of action will be for your future and that of your family. Having your own attorney to consult with you on these issues and coach you through the negotiations helps you make informed decisions and moves the mediation process along more smoothly.
As an impartial professional, your mediator will not be able to provide legal advice. They cannot advise you on the implications of the decisions you make on complex legal issues; this is why you need your own lawyer. To ensure you get the best possible guidance, here are five tips to help you get the most from your attorney during mediation:
Tip #1: Choose an attorney experienced in mediation.
You chose mediation as a way to arrive at a fair settlement in your divorce and you want to be sure your attorney is on the same page. The best way to assure that is to choose a lawyer with mediation training and experience. Look for the terms “certified mediator” or “qualified mediator” when researching choices for legal representation.
Tip #2: Provide full and accurate financial information in a timely manner.
When you begin the divorce process, you will find that the beginning stage is all about gathering information on your marital assets, debts, and property. Having all this information organized and ready for mediation will help make your attorney much more efficient at providing you with the proper guidance to protect your rights.
Tip #3: Use your attorney for protection.
You will need to fully understand the legal ramifications of the decisions being made by you and your spouse during mediation. Your attorney can ensure you know your legal rights and can help you protect them by talking through the negotiating points as you go through the mediation process.
Tip #4: Attorney as coach.
The mediator is there to facilitate decision-making, not to make the actual decisions as a judge does in litigation. This means that you will be negotiating for yourself with your soon-to-be ex — something that most people feel uncomfortable doing because of the emotional complexity. Having a family law attorney to coach you through each stage of the process will help you be a better, more confident negotiator. If you run into a snag during mediation where you and your spouse are stuck on an issue, your attorney can advise you on the likely outcome of your case if it goes to litigation.
Tip #5: Understand the full legal ramifications of your final agreement.
Once the mediation process has been completed and you have reached a final agreement on all the issues in your divorce, everything must be finalized in a written agreement for the court. This agreement is a legal contract between you and your ex that will govern your legal rights and responsibilities for many years. It is imperative that you do not sign it without a thorough understanding of all the provisions that were hammered out during mediation. To avoid costly mistakes or misunderstandings, you should go over your final agreement in detail with your attorney to ensure everything is correct.
You can rely on Cistaro Law to skillfully negotiate and mediate your issues to a satisfactory resolution. Should the need arise, you can also count on our experience for being aggressive litigators if the situation calls for a more assertive response. Contact us today for your free consultation.