The Role of Lawyers in the Mediation Process
- Even if you and your partner choose to hire me as your mediator, there is still a role for your lawyers to play in the process.
- Each party should consult with his/her own lawyer before mediation begins, in order to understand his/her legal rights and obligations.
- Once the process of family mediation begins, typically, the parties attend without their lawyers for the joint sessions. This helps to keep the legal costs to a minimum. However, both parties are free to consult with their own lawyers at any time and as often as necessary to obtain independent legal advice throughout the mediation process.
- In other cases, the lawyers are present during each joint session of the mediation. Some people just feel more comfortable having their lawyer with them. However, this does not occur very often, as it is more costly to both parties.
- At the end of mediation, if an agreement has been reached, the Mediator prepares a report. One of the lawyers will then use that report as a basis to prepare the legal document to make your agreement legally binding. Before that agreement is signed, both parties must obtain independent legal advice. This step is mandatory, not optional.
The Role of other Professionals
Part of my approach is to also provide support to both parties, as necessary, by connecting each of you to other resources within the community.
During mediation, I encourage both parties to seek assistance from other professionals, such as counselors, accountants or financial planners. Sometimes, they can help resolve a difficult issue.
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