Divorces can be long, painful processes. Most couples are not actively interested in hurting each other, but contentious issues disputes surrounding children, assets, and money can lead to drawn out legal battles. These fights can be emotionally draining and expensive in and of themselves, which often leads people to look for easier and less costly alternatives. Divorce mediators are one potential solution, but they are not always the right option and they do not necessarily fulfill the same role as a proper divorce attorney.
What Does a Divorce Mediator Do?
A divorce mediator acts as a neutral third-party to resolve disputes between you and your spouse during the divorce process. Unlike a lawyer, a mediator is not in anyone's corner. In fact, a true mediator's professional responsibility is to ensure an outcome that is as fair as possible for both parties without either your or your spouse's side.
It is also important to understand that a mediator is not a court appointed official and thus has no actual authority over the process. Instead, the mediator will usually be hired jointly by you and your spouse. They will work with both of you to resolve disputes so that you can reach a divorce settlement with minimal court involvement. This may be desirable if you and your soon-to-be ex are parting on amenable terms and have no major points of contention.
Disadvantages of Mediation
Mediation can be a tempting option since it avoids much of the legal process, but for many couples it has serious disadvantages. If your separation and divorce is emotionally charged, then it is worth bearing in mind that mediation will require you to spend a significant amount of time in a room together with your spouse. This can be difficult even for couples that are still on good terms with each other, and it can be extremely fraught for couples that are not.
Additionally, the fact that mediators are primarily acting as advisers means that you and your spouse will still be working through much of the process on your own. If you are unable to reach terms with the help of a mediator, then you will still be required to arbitrate your divorce settlement through other means. Mediators should only be hired if both you and your spouse have an extremely high level of confidence in your ability to work through your difference.
Advantages of a Traditional Divorce Lawyer
The primary advantage of hiring an attorney is that you have someone who is guaranteed to be on your side. A divorce attorney will be acting entirely in your interests, and can help to guide you through the often byzantine legal process surrounding a divorce proceeding. Your attorney can also provide a layer of separation between you and your spouse, which can help to make the process less emotionally straining.
Divorce lawyers will also help you to concentrate on the aspects of your settlement that are truly important to you. While mediators are focused primarily on facilitating a smooth and fair settlement process between you and your spouse, an attorney is focused on protecting your interests. This means that your attorney will help you to objectively evaluate your settlement wishes so that you can make informed decisions on which battles are worth fighting.