Although mediation may be the right choice for many couples facing divorce, it is important to realize that this option does not work equally well for everyone. In fact, not all paths to mediation are created equally, and mediation will certainly not always save you money.
In fact, if you are married to the idea of mediation, your divorce could ultimately cost you a lot of money. So before you favor mediation over more adversarial forms of divorce proceedings, take a close look at the various mediation routes below.
The JD Mediator
Many times, nonlegal professionals will obtain a juris doctor (JD) from a law school so they can make extra money as a divorce mediator. Many licensed marriage therapists hold JDs for this very purpose. Intent on profiting from dissolving marriages as well as saving them, these therapists often promote themselves as a warm, caring, efficient, and inexpensive mediation option.
Unfortunately, the JD mediator can prove extremely costly in the long run. While they hold law degrees, JD mediators have not passed the bar and have little to no professional law experience. Therefore, they can easily overlook important matters during the divorce process and cannot adequately protect their clients when things go awry.
The General Attorney-Mediator
While the general attorney-mediator is likely to have both a JD and bar membership, they tend to lack a specific focus on divorce proceedings, accepting payment to broker all types of official agreements.
Furthermore, few attorney mediators have significant or recent litigation experience in family law. This means that, like the JD mediator, the attorney-mediator is generally unprepared to contend with anything but the simplest and most straightforward of divorce situations.
In fact, attorney mediators make it quite clear that they have no duty to either side when it comes to resolving contentious issues. This impartiality can easily become problematic. When it comes to something as complex as a divorce, it is key to have a trained professional on your side and your side alone.
The Retired Judge or Commissioner
Sometimes you can find a retired judge or commissioner who is willing to act as a mediator in your divorce proceedings. These professionals may have handled large numbers of family law issues, but they suffer from many of the same shortcomings as the JD mediator and general attorney-mediator.
Specifically, the retired judge or commissioner has a duty to ensure an equitable distribution of assets, but we all know just how contentious such divisions can be. If there is any appearance of unequal distribution, independent counsel must be called in to settle all disputes.
The Family Law Attorney
Your best first step in the divorce process is to contact an experienced family law attorney. Whether you ultimately pursue mediation or opt for another path forward, these attorneys have the extensive family law experience necessary to navigate divorce proceedings successfully. Even more importantly, they will have nothing but your best interests at heart throughout.
To learn more about the potential benefits and inherent dangers of various routes to mediation, contact a seasoned family law professional at Hartley Lamas Et Al. today. We will help you determine the divorce processes and strategies that are right for you and the situation you face. From mediation to litigation, we will fight for your best interests using the massive resources at our disposal.