Questions #1- The most critical difference between our two roles is that a divorce mediator is neutral and does not take either spouse’s side and a divorce attorney is your legal advocate and advises you in your best interests. A divorce mediator helps you and your spouse move the conversation along and reach mutually agreed upon decisions about all the issues of your divorce. A divorce mediator meets with both parties whereas a divorce attorney only meets with one party- his/her client. Conversations when using a divorce attorney happen like this- Sue, the client, meets with John, her attorney, who talks with Jane, the spouse’s attorney, who talks to the spouse, David. David then talks to Jane who gets back to John who will then talk to Sue. And the cycle continues for every issue that needs to be addressed. In mediation, Sue and David meet with Michelle the mediator and discuss and decide on all the issues directly. Things move quickly and are more amicable and less expensive.
Question #2- You should use a mediator and review attorney in conjunction with one another. A review attorney is a divorce attorney acting in a more limited role. A review attorney can answer any of your legal questions, file the paperwork for court, and accompany you to court. I liken the situation to the mediator being the starting pitcher and the review attorney is the closer. Both are vital but different roles. A review attorney will charge you significantly less than a divorce attorney because the review attorney is not your sole source of support and therefore has to do less work. You do the heavy lifting about your decisions regarding your divorce in mediation.
Question #3- At Westfield Mediation, LLC, all we do is divorce mediation, so I don’t need to be a lawyer because I am not practicing law. As a mediator, my role is to facilitate communication about the issues of the divorce. As a trained marriage and family therapist, I may be better skilled at this than attorneys. If a question comes up about a law, I refer the client to his/her review attorney for clarification. I focus on helping the couple make important decisions about their new futures.
For more information about Divorce Mediation contact Randi M. Albert, JD, or Michelle Weinberg, LMFT, at Westfield Mediation, LLC, at 908.913.0373. View our website at www.westfieldnjmediation.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org