Marriages do not always work out for the benefit or happiness of both spouses. Some divorces are mutual, and both parties involved in a marriage wish to split up in the simplest way possible. Though divorces are often portrayed as bitter, there are situations in which couples can peacefully and fairly split their assets. However, when deciding between divorce mediation or hiring a divorce attorney, it’s essential to make sure you’re making the right decision. If your divorce is not handled correctly, you could suffer from the consequences for years.
The Difference Between Divorce Mediators & Divorce Attorneys
To understand the difference between mediators and attorneys, it's important to remember that the purpose of any divorce is to produce a divorce agreement. The agreement includes the terms of property division, alimony, child support, and child custody. Couples can create this agreement outside of court on their own terms, or bring it before a judge in litigation.
When a couple decides to divorce, both parties typically hire their own attorney. Attorneys solely represent your interests and work on your behalf to argue for a divorce agreement favorable to your goals and needs. Even if both parties have every intention of treating each other fairly, it's entirely possible that your divorce will require litigation before a judge. An attorney ensures your case will be competently and thoroughly presented in court, and in some cases may gather evidence to weaken or contradict the other side's case.
In contrast, divorce mediators do not represent either you or your spouse. Even if a divorce mediator is an attorney, they do not offer legal advice, which would favor one party over another. Instead, divorce mediators work with both parties throughout the divorce process as a kind of referee. Their job is to be a neutral facilitator of the divorce agreement. A mediator's goal is not to create a divorce agreement that works for you; it's to help both parties come together and create a divorce agreement they can both agree to.
Mediation is a great option for couples who have children and want to create a mutually beneficial agreement. However, a divorcee should have the help of a family law attorney even during mediation. Hiring an attorney is not a hostile decision and is simply a way of promoting a fair divorce.
When Should You Hire an Attorney?
While using a mediator is one way to divorce quickly, it is still important to hire a divorce attorney during the mediation process. Hiring a divorce attorney does not mean that a person wants to fight their spouse during divorce. Instead, a divorce lawyer serves as a safeguard that checks the terms of mediation and whether they are fair for their client.
Mediation is never a good idea for couples with an imbalance of power. For example, if a person’s main role during a marriage was staying home with children while the other person worked, these parties might need lawyers. Instead, these situations require divorce attorneys who will serve as advocates for their client’s best interests. A lawyer can assist with mediation but should be prepared to take a case to court if their client is not receiving a fair agreement.
The Bottom Line
While mediation may be a faster and more amicable process, it may not be for everyone. At Miller Law Group, P.C., our attorneys are focused on providing the experienced legal help that clients need during one of the most challenging times of their lives. We know that divorce is hard and will fight for your fair treatment throughout the process. Our attorneys give every case the attention it deserves and meet multiple times each week to discuss our client’s cases. We’re happy to strategize today to protect your future.
Call our Massachusetts divorce lawyers today at (508) 502-7002 for help with your mediation concerns. A member of our team is ready to talk right now!