Divorce can be a painful experience for couples and families. Spouses are usually looking to get through the process with as little stress and contention as possible, especially when children are involved. Working with a divorce mediator is a trend as couples seek to work out differences outside of the court system. There are many situations where mediation is an excellent path. It can save money and reduce stress. However, even in mediation, both spouses still need lawyers to protect their interests and make sure the final divorce agreement is legally sound. Remember, a divorce doesn’t need to be adversarial just because lawyers are involved. It’s one of the reasons having the right legal team behind you is so crucial.
What Is A Divorce Mediator?
Mediation is on the rise as couples seek to divorce amicably and cooperatively. A mediator is a neutral third party who helps spouses negotiate and come to an agreement. The mediator, who works with both spouses simultaneously, is often (but not always) an attorney.
When done right, mediation can keep the relationship between spouses less adversarial, reducing tensions and negativity. It can also help maintain a more favorable environment for children as their parents separate. Another upside to mediation is that discussions are private and confidential while a litigated divorce is public. In court, accusations and sensitive personal information become public record, which can be problematic. If a mediated divorce goes well, an attorney simply files the finalized agreement in court. When mediation goes smoothly, it can also be a less expensive approach.
But mediation without legal support has its downsides. It can result in poorly drafted agreements that lead to legal complications down the road. Mediation can often take longer than some couples are willing or able to dedicate to the process. Finally, while mediators are supposed to be neutral, they may become biased toward one spouse. In cases where one spouse is aggressive or uncooperative, a mediated divorce may put the other party in a weaker position and open the door to more issues.
What Is The Role of Divorce Lawyers?
Dividing property, settling finances, and dealing with custody issues are complicated. When spouses can’t agree, it often makes the most sense to let the courts decide. Traditional divorce litigation involves taking the case through the court system. Each spouse hires an attorney to advocate for them individually. A litigated divorce is usually the preferred route when spouses have trouble working collaboratively or when one spouse is aggressive or uncooperative.
Dealing with financial assets, retirement benefits, or dividing property can be legally tricky even if a divorce is not contentious. Divorce lawyers know the ins and outs of family law and help guide their clients through the process. And while litigation tends to be more expensive than mediation, it usually resolves the case faster, a priority for some couples. As the Virginia Bar Association puts it, the emotional tensions involved in divorce “make it difficult if not impossible for the average couple to deal coolly or objectively with divorce and separation.” So it’s essential to have an attorney with specialized knowledge advocating for you.
How Can Lawyers and Mediators Work Together?
Many divorcing spouses want to resolve their divorces cooperatively and privately but still want solid legal advice. The good news is that it’s not always an either/or situation. Divorce mediation with consulting attorneys is a solution more couples are choosing. In this case, the spouses work with a mediator outside of the court system, but each party has legal representation. Divorce can certainly remain cooperative and amicable when both spouses have lawyers on their side. Family lawyers have the knowledge and expertise to give you excellent advice and make sure that your mediator comes up with a legally sound agreement. With decades of experience with both in-court litigated divorce and mediated divorce, the Laurel Brigade Law Group can help you choose the path that is best for you and your family. We can help you work with a cooperative mindset while firmly advocating for you and your best interests.