Why do we need to pay an attorney if we have a mediator?
Why can’t one attorney do everything for both of us—mediate AND represent us?
Just as there are many questions, there are many different answers.
Frequently, attorneys refer their clients to our office; of this group, some consult with their attorney throughout the process checking on ideas, getting suggestions and seeking input. While others wait until they have an agreement to return to their lawyer for review and filing (going to court).
Then there are those who do not even hire an attorney until they actually have an agreement. These clients use an attorney simply to review the agreement and prepare the filing papers necessary to take their agreement to court. Even within this group there are variations. At times only one spouse retains an attorney, with the other spouse electing not to secure representation.
At CMDR, we recommend that each client have the agreement reviewed by an attorney who will look at the document strictly from the perspective of his/her client, with understanding and respect for the mediation process. In short, the lawyer needs to view the agreement as a document fashioned for the well being of the whole family, not just one person. As such, the reviewing attorney needs to be able to look beyond his/her client’s needs viewing the “goodness” of the entire package.
More Answers About Mediation & Attorneys:
One attorney cannot represent both parties—it is against the Bar Code of Ethics
A mediator cannot act as an attorney and legally represent the parties. By definition, a mediator must remain a neutral party, not an advocate.
Mediation with attorney representation is almost always less expensive than the traditional legal process. The couple shares the cost of the mediator and the lawyer’s involvement is more limited and focused, thereby greatly diminishing legal costs.
It is easier to go to court with an attorney, then to go alone. The court is a bureaucracy, one that is not always easy to fathom. A lawyer understands the judicial process and is comfortable interacting with the judge. Simply put, a lawyer may make your court experience less traumatic and confusing. Frequently couples choose to go to court with one attorney, even if both parties have legal representation. In a non-contested, joint petition divorce, the court appearance is not the place for advocacy—the agreement has been reached and the lawyer’s role is to present the agreement.
There is no requirement that states that a couple needs legal representation in order to petition the court for a divorce. The choice is completely up to the couple.
Please Call Our Office For Answers To Your Questions – 781.239.1600