Do I Need a Lawyer for Divorce Mediation?

Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman, LLC. – Philadelphia Divorce Lawyers

If you and your spouse have agreed to engage in divorce mediation to have an amicable, uncontested divorce, you don’t need to hire a divorce attorney, right?

Wrong – perhaps. There are certain circumstances in which you need the advice and counsel of a divorce attorney to get the best result for your family going forward. The Philadelphia divorce lawyers at Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman explain.

If you are in divorce mediation and struggling, call us. We can guide you regarding child custody, child support, spousal support, and property distribution, and help you get what your family needs from divorce mediation.

You Don’t Need a Lawyer for Divorce Mediation, But It Helps

Ideally, you, your spouse, and your divorce mediation lawyer should be able to sit down and negotiate agreements on all of the issues arising from your divorce. Unfortunately, it is rarely that simple.

Your divorce mediator is a neutral third party and does not represent either you or your spouse. Their function is to facilitate your negotiations regarding child custody, child support, spousal support, and property distribution, and to guide you to agreements acceptable to the family court. You may want to consider hiring a family lawyer, who represents your interests during the process. 

A divorce lawyer represents you and advises you as to what is in your best interests. That advice may empower you in negotiations. Because your mediator cannot give either of you legal advice, and they may recommend you both consult with a divorce lawyer prior to signing any agreement. 

A Divorce Lawyer’s Role During Divorce Mediation

Consulting with your own divorce attorney assists you with mediation in a number of ways. Your divorce attorney informs you as to your legal rights and responsibilities in divorce, explains the rules and procedures of mediation, helps you find a divorce mediator if you have not found one already, prepares you for mediation by helping you gather information and documents, and reviews potential agreements.

Your divorce attorney will likely not attend mediation with you because mediation is intended to be cooperative, not litigious, but they support you outside mediation if you have questions as mediation progresses.

When to Have a Divorce Attorney While in Mediation

Common situations where you and your spouse should consider hiring divorce lawyers outside mediation include these, among others:

  • One or both of you own a business
  • One or both of you are part owners of a family business
  • You have a complex estate
  • It is a high net worth divorce
  • You own property or other assets in another state or country
  • You own stock options or other unrealized assets 
  • You own art, collectibles, or antiques
  • You have a child with special needs
  • You and your spouse intend to live in different states or countries

Whenever there are complexities regarding valuation or different jurisdictions, consulting with your own attorney helps ensure your rights are protected in your divorce.

Finding a Divorce Mediator or Lawyer

Divorce is difficult, but that difficulty is eased by choosing the right professionals to help you through it. Your mediator has their role to play – to get to know your family situation, facilitate negotiations, and guide you to agreements that work for your family and are acceptable to the family court judge. Your divorce lawyer’s role is to ensure your rights are protected and help you navigate thorny valuation, support, and custody issues.

If you live in the Philadelphia area, call the experienced divorce lawyers and divorce mediation lawyers at Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman. Whether we represent you or mediate your divorce settlement, we can help you get the best result for your family.

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