When dealing with disputes that involve family law, many people have the mistaken idea that you can engage a family law attorney if you’ll undergo mediation, and vice versa. It’s simply not true. The fact is, when resolving conflicts and protecting your interests in a family law dispute, mediation is just one tool out of many. Just as engaging an attorney to advise you doesn’t preclude you from entering into mediation in order to avoid court, entering into mediation doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire an attorney to advise you.
In a wide variety of important ways, a family law attorney can assist you with preparing for mediation.
With any legal proceeding or dispute, discovery is one of the most important aspects. The discovery process involves the collection and collation of information pertinent to the dispute, and the data collected can have a serious impact on the final result. A clear and up-to-date knowledge of every aspect of the issues you will be deciding is vital whenever one party enters into mediation with another party. A family law attorney will not only have the resources to gather this information, including subpoena powers if they are necessary, but also the experience to collate and present it to you, to the opposing part and to the mediator in a clear and easily understood manner.
A divorce is a complex situation with a lot of moving parts’ that will have a significant impact on the lives of all involved. A family law attorney will have the necessary information on hand to complete a child support obligation worksheet (if necessary) or a marital estate worksheet. There are serious financial problems or even court-imposed penalties when errors on these worksheets are made. And unless you possess the experience and familiarity with them that an attorney brings, these worksheets can be difficult to complete.
Finally, a family law attorney has been through the process many times and can give the client a clear concept of the best-case and worst-case scenarios. The whole experience becomes less frightening and more effective when clients have a reasonable and objective idea of what the outcome of mediation could be. When this happens, clients come to terms with those possibilities more easily and enter into the mediation process with a calm, productive attitude.
Mediation is, not a separate realm, but an aspect of the legal process. Although it is not an absolute requirement, the advice of an attorney is always helpful. Therefore, any attempt at mediation is much more likely to succeed with the help of a skilled and experienced family law attorney.