Divorce attorneys know the law. Mediators who are not well versed in family law may not be as prepared on the legal ramifications of your divorce proceeding as divorce attorneys. Mediators are not required to be trained in the law nor are they even required to be certified. Understandably, you have arrived at mediation to avoid litigation. However, it is unrealistic and unwise to segregate the law from your divorce. Therefore, when choosing a divorce mediator, try and find someone who is not only certified in mediation, but is also an experienced divorce attorney.
While in mediation, if you feel that you are entitled to more child support or alimony, a lawyer who has extensive experience with the state child support guidelines or alimony reform, can help both you and your spouse negotiate a fair result according to the law. Though a mediator is not actually giving you legal advice per se, they can use the law as a guiding light in the negotiation process. In a litigated divorce, the divorce attorneys are typically one-sided; a divorce attorney who is also a certified mediator will have the same tools you’d like in a mediator, with the added benefit of someone who is familiar with the law. This would be especially helpful for those of you with complex asset division issues. The law treats assets differently based upon when those assets where acquired (ie pre-marriage, during the marriage and post-separation) and when divided, may have particularly complicated tax ramifications. By providing you with individually tailored legal advice on how and whether to pay support or divide your assets, a divorce attorney certified in mediation who knows probate and family law, can eliminate potential and long term problems and will ensure a fair and reasonable division of assets.
For example, child custody is perhaps one of the more bitter fought battles of a divorce proceeding. Divorce attorneys who have litigation skills in addition to mediation skills know better than any other profession the traumatic impact of a child custody matter and the need to settle these cases quickly and efficiently. As a hardened divorce negotiator, a divorce attorney can be more emotionally and practically prepared to handle child custody issues than other types of mediators. A mediator with a financial planner or accountant background, will may not have been through nearly the same number of child custody matters as a divorce attorney, even though their background in the financial and tax ramifications of a divorce is important. Hopefully, your mediation will go much more amicably than most divorce litigation cases based on the solid recommendations of your divorce mediator based on their experiences from being in front of judges on a day to day basis. However, it is important to note that, even in mediation, issues that involve children will inevitably bring up parental attachment issues that need professional counseling from other sources, however, a divorce attorney can help you mediate the core legal issues efficiently, patiently, and most important, effectively.