Many people recently are thinking mediation when they begin to think about getting divorced. I find this exciting; it means more and more people are thinking about moving on from their marriage without the destruction and drama of litigation. However, mediation is for a specific purpose and does not meet every divorcing couple's needs. If you're thinking about amicably ending your marriage the first thing to ask yourself is: Do my partner and I both agree to end our marriage amicably? If the answer is yes, then you have a new set of questions to ask:
1. Do my partner and I know exactly what assets and liabilities the other one has?
2. Do my partner and I already have an agreement in regards to our kids, house, assets and liabilities?
If the answer to these is yes, then it is possible that you benefit more from hiring an attorney to draft all of the necessary paperwork for an uncontested divorce than you would from attending mediation. If the answers to these is No, then you next need to ask: Do my partner and I know we both WANT to reach an agreement but we don't know exactly everything we need to agree on or what we want the agreement to be. If you answer this questions YES - then Mediation is the ABSOLUTE BEST option for you.
Now we have determined mediation is right for you - what's next? The next step is to figure out whether you want to attend mediation alone or with a lawyer. The advantages of hiring a lawyer are: you will be advised about your rights prior to entering into an agreement, you will be certain that the agreement you enter into states what you want it to and is legally enforceable and you will be certain you have thought of ALL of the MANY details that need to get sorted out in a divorce. The downside to hiring a lawyer is mostly COST. Secondly, despite our best efforts, lawyers sometimes just mess up a good thing. We sometimes create issues where there were none. Working with a progressive attorney who is collaboratively trained or who has a mental health background certainly helps protect against this - but the reality is that involving lawyers changes the dynamics. Sometimes that is for the best and other times it is for the worst.
At Solaris Law Group we are staffed with collaboratively trained lawyers, and lawyers with mental health backgrounds, mediators and a passion for helping families through tough times using a multi-disciplinary approach. The best advice is to pick up the phone and call for a free consultation.