A Lawyer’s Role in Mediation

An option available to divorcing parties is mediation. Such an option is more likely to go smoothly when each spouse has a legal advisor. A legal adviser is a lawyer who is willing to consult with you as a part of the mediation process. This article will discuss divorce mediation and legal advisors roles in the mediation proceedings and process.

In recent times divorcing couples have started to turn to mediation and as a result this has lessened the need for traditional consulting lawyers. However, this has resulted in the increased need of a legal adviser who is willing to consult with the divorcing spouse as an integral part of the mediation process. Therefore, it is very common for many divorce lawyers to become mediators and the same lawyers are happy to work as consulting lawyers on cases that do not require mediation.

According to the Canadian Bar Association mediation is defined as, “the intervention into a dispute or negotiation by an acceptable, impartial and neutral third party who has no decision-making power, to assist disputing parties in voluntarily reaching their own mutually acceptable settlement of issues in dispute.” With this definition in mind, one may ask why there is a need to consult a lawyer as the mediator will be available as the neutral third-party. At some point during or before mediation there is need to consult a lawyer in respect of your legal rights. It is important to note that a mediator has no decision-making powers nor is his or her goal to provide legal advice but to assist divorcing parties to reach a mutually acceptable settlement on their issues. Therefore, by consulting a lawyer this can help you get answers that are tailor-made for your divorce case. An experience divorce lawyer can provide the following:

Evaluate your options – before the mediation a legal adviser can help you evaluate the option of mediation, assist with selecting a mediator and persuade your spouse to undergo mediation.

Act as a law coach – during the mediation, a legal adviser may act as a law coach on an as-needed basis. Between sessions you can consult with your legal adviser in order to clarify questions and prepare for negotiations. A good legal adviser can coach his or her client in negotiating techniques and help the client think up creative solutions to propose during the mediation.

Predict outcomes and costs – a legal adviser can help predict the range of possible legal outcomes if you had taken your matter to court as well as the cost of paying a lawyer to fight for such outcomes in court. By knowing the possible outcomes this is essential to a successful and fair negotiation.

Review agreements – one of the most important roles of a legal adviser is to review any written agreement prepared by the mediator to ensure that it says what his or her client wanted to say and to make it legally binding once signed. 

For a brief consultation with a legal adviser early on during the mediation process, seek out a law firm that specializes in simple divorce Ontario.

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