The cost of getting a divorce or facing a post-divorce disagreement can be scary. There is no doubt that attorney fees can add up when each spouse hires a separate attorney and starts down the path toward going to court. But what if you don’t want to head to court? What if you and your spouse are largely on the same page – at least with your commitment to handling your case in a peaceful way?
Mediation without attorneys is a cost-effective and amicable option for people facing divorce or post divorce challenges. The mediation process involves both spouses meeting with a trained mediator who guides a discussion between them and helps to work out their areas of disagreement. The mediator can then write the documents necessary to give the agreement to the court for the court’s approval. Mediation can happen in person at the mediator’s office or can be completed through a videoconferencing program such as Zoom.
It is important to note that a mediator is not the lawyer for either spouse. That means that the mediator cannot give legal advice to anyone such as recommending a particular deal for one side or the other, predicting what a judge would do in a particular case or recommending strategy for negotiating. Instead, the mediator is a neutral party who is not on the side of either party, but is only interested in reaching a solution with which both sides are comfortable. If one or both spouses feel that they need legal advice, it is common to participate in mediation but to then take the agreement written by the mediator to an independent attorney for review before signing it.
Mediators typically charge an hourly rate for their services, and the two spouses usually divide that cost evenly unless they agree to another payment method. The shared cost of one mediator is usually dramatically less than hiring two attorneys to handle the case. While mediation without attorneys is not right for everyone, it is an available option for divorcing spouses interested in a peaceful process and looking to save money.