Do I Need Both a Lawyer and a Family Law Mediator?
Denton County Attorney and Mediator Jared Julian Explains
Mediation is an alternative method for dispute resolution in divorce, child custody and other family law cases. During divorce or child custody proceedings, the court may order the parties to attempt mediation. Some people may wonder if a mediator is necessary if they have already retained an attorney, or if mediation can proceed without a lawyer. However, the role of a family law mediator is very different from that of your lawyer. Both play important roles during mediated negotiations.
Family law attorney and certified mediator Jared Julian, a founding member of The Julin Firm, P.C., explains why you should have a lawyer during mediation.
What Does an Attorney Do in Family Law Mediation?
In Texas, mediation involves informal, confidential negotiations outside of a courtroom. Generally, both parties stay in separate rooms while the mediator relays information back and forth between them. This allows you to speak honestly, without the pressure of a courtroom or the stress of facing the other person or people directly. A family law mediator will not rule on your case or enforce any decisions. Instead, he or she helps you work through your disputes, such as divorce agreements or child custody arguments.
If successful, the mediator will help both parties come to an acceptable agreement, which may then be drafted and signed. However, a mediator is an impartial third party whose main job is encouraging communication. While he or she can offer solutions to the issues and disputes presented, he or she cannot give you legal advice.
On the other hand, your divorce lawyer is on your side and will protect your best interests. Your attorney is essentially your legal expert. He or she can clarify details or point out issues that you may not have thought of or notice so that you do not agree to something you do not want. Additionally, your lawyer can help you prepare for a mediation session, and will explain any legal agreements to you in plain language. Lawyers and mediators together help you find balance during divorce or family law negotiations.
Do I Still Need a Lawyer for Divorce Mediation If We Both Agree on Everything?
If you and your spouse are in agreement on all aspects of your divorce, you probably still need a lawyer to complete the paperwork. However, you may not need a mediator. Divorce mediation is a method of dispute resolution. Therefore, you only need a mediator if you and the other person disagree on something.
Uncontested divorce is rare, but it can save you time and money if the circumstances are right. Often, people think they have an uncontested divorce because they have not considered all of the implications of property settlement, child custody, child support and spousal support. Therefore, even if you are parting amicably, it is best that you each hire a divorce lawyer. A lawyer will ensure you have considered important issues like child custody and support payments, home ownership and division of assets. Then, if any disputes arise between you and your spouse, your attorney may suggest mediation.
Questions About Family Law Mediation? Contact Us Today
Mediation is often extremely helpful during divorce negotiations or other family law matters. A family law mediator facilitates negotiations while your attorney works to protect your best interests. However, in some cases mediation may not be necessary, such as in uncontested divorce.
If you are considering divorce, uncontested or otherwise, call Denton County family law attorney and certified mediator Jared Julian. As your lawyer, he can advise you on whether mediation may be the best path for your individual case. Contact him online or call our North Texas law firm to schedule a free consultation today.