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What Does a Mediator Do in a Divorce?

  • May 15, 2021
  • The Harr Law Firm

Young couple arguing at table in front of mediatorIn many divorces, it’s beneficial to meet with a mediator, as well as your separate divorce attorneys. But why? What can a mediator provide for you that we, as your divorce attorneys, often can’t? Mediators have a unique role in divorce proceedings. Keep reading to learn more about what they do and how they can help your divorce go more smoothly.

You Can Have Both

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that your divorce doesn’t have to only involve a mediator or divorce attorneys. Many people are under the impression that you only need one or the other. But many divorcing couples can benefit from having both types of professionals working with them.

A mediator can facilitate more open discussion while looking at the whole picture of the divorce. Their job is to figure out what works best for everyone, and not just one party. Our job as your attorney is to advocate for you personally. While we always work to find an equitable solution for all parties involved, as our client, you are always our priority.

By having both a mediator and your private divorce lawyers present, you can ensure that all perspectives are being considered when negotiating the terms of your divorce settlement.

Benefits of Including a Mediator

If you’ve already hired a lawyer, you might wonder what benefits there are to also hiring a divorce mediator. Here are a few important ones to consider:

  • Figure out what matters most – As mentioned, a mediator can help to facilitate more open discussion. They can help both you and your spouse to determine what matters most to each of you, so you can better negotiate your terms.
  • Defuse the tension – When both partners have their own lawyers, the environment can often feel combative. As mentioned, your attorney is on your side and nobody else’s, but it can also be important to have someone in the middle. A mediator is neutral third party that can reach across the aisle and help defuse a tense situation so you, your partner, and both your lawyers can better negotiate.
  • Shorten divorce time – The length of your divorce proceedings will depend heavily on how complex your situation is and how willing you and your spouse are to work together. Having a mediator on board can encourage the open communication necessary to reach agreements more quickly, shortening the length of your divorce

While we always do our best to facilitate good communication and fair negotiations between our clients, mediation is truly a skillset all its own. Every couple can benefit from having a mediator on board, no matter their situation.

What Mediators Can’t Do

So, if a mediator can help walk you through your divorce negotiations, what purpose is there in hiring us? Well, quite simply, a mediator is not an attorney. They cannot provide you with legal advice and, as mentioned, can’t advocate for you individually. While many couples may be able to work through a divorce with only a mediator, these divorces are typically simpler, more amicable situations.

If there are any complications in your divorce proceedings—such as an uncooperative spouse who’s unwilling to mediate, a history of abuse, or any reason to believe your partner is hiding assets—then you need a divorce attorney. It is particularly important in high-asset divorces that you have a divorce attorney who can keep your best interests in mind when negotiating the terms of your settlement. These divorces are complex, and generally beyond the skills of a mediator.

Which One Do You Need?

Determining whether you need a mediator, a divorce lawyer, or both will come down to your unique circumstances and the details of your divorce. As mentioned, if you and your spouse are divorcing amicably and your assets are very straightforward, a mediator may be all you need. However, if there are any complications involved (or even the potential for complications as you negotiate), we strongly recommend that you work with an attorney.

At the Harr Law Firm, we are mediation-friendly attorneys, and we encourage our clients to consider the benefits of working with a divorce mediator. If you do decide to bring a mediator into the proceedings, we will gladly work with them and your ex’s attorney to reach an agreement that is beneficial to all parties. Give us a call if you have any questions regarding how we can help you, or how we can work with your divorce mediator to reach a faster, more equitable divorce settlement.