Divorce Mediation can be a positive and effective experience for many divorcing clients. A good mediator can help clients sort through difficult decisions and hopefully make the best decisions for the family. And there are also multiple benefits for some clients to rely on support from a consulting attorney before the mediation– especially if the attorney advocates for out-of-court resolutions and client self-determination. A good consulting attorney can lead to positive outcomes for the client. There are several reasons.
The attorney can identify the legal issues
First, divorce is a legal contract, and the law sets boundaries for what can and must be decided. For most divorce decisions (child custody and parenting time, spousal support, child support, and division of debts and assets,) the law strongly encourages out-of-court solutions. It allows for a lot of creativity and flexibility. Consulting with an attorney allows the client to learn what the law allows, and the attorney may suggest creative solutions for the family within the legal framework.
The attorney can help the client think through outcomes
Second, the attorney can help the client prepare for the nuts and bolts of negotiations. Attorneys should be thinking about creative solutions to complex problems in advance and should help their clients know that the client's perspective is not the only perspective in the room. The goal in most mediations is an appropriate resolution for both clients and the family – meaning a solution that both can live with. Therefore, the attorney should think about solutions that benefit the family – not posture and try to persuade the mediator or the other client, which could quickly backfire and create unnecessary conflict (conflict creates cost for the client.)
The attorney can role-play scenarios
Third, the attorney can also role-play situations with the client before the mediation. It could help the client identify how he wants to present a tricky decision. The attorney should be sufficiently aware of the facts to know where possible avenues of agreement lay.
The attorney can offer trusted professionals to support the family
Fourth, many clients are dealing with complex emotional responses to the divorce. Or their children may struggle during the divorce. The attorney can recognize these issues and recommend other professionals who may support the family, such as Divorce Coaches or Child Specialists. The attorney has usually developed positive relationships with many other specialists who can help clients through the divorce.
When looking for an attorney who can help you prepare for mediation, you should ask her about how she can support you (most importantly) and find efficient solutions for the whole family. Mediation involves negotiation – give and take – and a consulting mediation attorney should help the process and the client. This could benefit everyone. It could set the clients up for success and a more efficient process.