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Do You Really Need Mediation?

We often have clients who call and are confused about what they really need an attorney for. A common question/comment we hear is we need to schedule mediation when in fact the client doesn’t need to schedule mediation.

When do you need mediation?

You need family law mediation when the two of you disagree about custody, visitation, child support, property division or  maintenance. You also need mediation if it is difficult for the two of you to communicate. Perhaps you have already tried to talk and work out an agreement but you can’t. You don’t feel heard by the other party and the other party doesn’t feel heard by you. You need to agree to disagree and get a mediator to try to work out an agreement. It’s cheaper. It’s confidential. It’s faster. It’s more creative and client-centered. 

What if we already agree? If you already agree then you do not need mediation. In a situation where you already agree on custody, visitation, child support, property division and maintenance then only one of you needs an appointment with our firm. Why? Because ethically an attorney can only represent one spouse in a divorce. I can’t represent both of you and I can’t meet with both of you during an initial consultation. Then, how will I know that you drafted the agreement that we reached? I represent one of you. Both of you review any settlement documents. If there is a disagreement then the unrepresented spouse should at that point obtain an attorney.  If you agree on everything I have drafted then the unrepresented party may not need to get an attorney or that party may have an attorney just review the settlement documents already drafted.

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