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Why it’s wise to have your own attorney in a mediated divorce

If you and your spouse can amicably settle your divorce on your own, mediation can be a good alternative to divorce litigation. It's less expensive and takes less time.

Mediation is often preferable for couples with children since they're going to need to work together for years to come as they co-parent. Being able to work out child custody and support agreements on their own can help them build a strong co-parenting foundation

In mediation, a couple can also negotiate property division and alimony agreements. The couple does the "heavy lifting," so to speak, of drafting these agreements. The mediator is there to answer questions, get them through impasses and help them arrive at solutions they can both live with. Their role is to be neutral and not to advocate for either person.

By choosing mediation, you don't give up your right to have an attorney. In fact, it's often valuable to have a family law attorney on your side to help you work toward agreements that are in your and your children's best interests and help ensure that you're not agreeing to something that could have negative consequences later.

What can your attorney do for you?

While your attorney can't be there with you in the mediation, they can be a valuable resource in many other areas. For example, they can:

  • Help you understand how mediation works so that you have a better idea of whether it's right for you.
  • Give you one or more recommendations for mediators in the area.
  • Prepare you for the process.
  • Recommend other professionals, such as financial and tax advisors, who can assist you as you negotiate with your spouse
  • Help you weigh the pros and cons of various settlements
  • Review a proposed settlement before you sign it.
  • Prepare the final divorce paperwork to present to the court.

It's a good idea to choose an attorney who handles both mediated and litigated divorces. That way, if mediation doesn't work out, your attorney can then represent you in court for some or all of your agreements. If you and your spouse can settle your divorce in mediation, having your own attorney can help ensure that your rights were well represented throughout the process.

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