Considering Divorce Mediation? Be Sure to Consult an Attorney
Many couples decide to opt for divorce mediation rather than litigate their divorce through the courts, particularly if they have no children. In divorce mediation, the mediator does not represent the interests of either party, legally or otherwise. They cannot offer legal advice. The mediator’s role instead is as a neutral third party, who can help the couple discuss and resolve their differences.
Once a divorce agreement is reached, it is filed with the court. The couple never sets foot in the courthouse.
Why seeking the advice of a divorce consulting attorney is a good idea
A divorce consulting attorney can advise you throughout the mediation process, so that you are fully aware of the legal requirements of your situation and your options.
Not all divorce mediators are attorneys. In fact, in the state of California, mediators do not even need to be licensed or certified. As a result, the divorce mediator you choose may not be knowledgeable about California Family Law and how it pertains to your situation.
The one exception to this rule is if the divorcing couple is in disagreement about what will happen to their children. If that is the case, California requires that the couple try to resolve their dispute in mediation provided by the court. California Family Court mediators are required to have a master‘s degree in counseling, social work or a related field. They also need to have at least two years of experience working in mental health and know how the family court system works.
What to expect in mediation
The divorce mediation itself can take one or several meetings. Your consulting attorney can either be in the room with you, or else available to you for advice as the mediation progresses. Your attorney can help you understand how California law can be applied in your situation, enabling you to make the most informed decisions. Minimally, he or she should review your Divorce Settlement Agreement and provide input before it is finalized.
If you are considering divorce mediation and want to discuss how a consulting attorney may be of service to you, please contact our office for a consultation.
Attorney Christina Sherman is a Marin County CA family law attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist, specializing in divorce, child custody and support, marital contracts and other family law issues.
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