Mediation and Attorneys
Trust Us with Your Mediation Services in Tallahassee, FL
People frequently want to consult an attorney when a separation or divorce seems to be a reality. Mediation is not a substitute for the services of an attorney; it is an alternative to the same end – without the high cost in time, money and emotion. Although Steve is an attorney, as your mediator he will not represent or give legal advice to you or your spouse. Most couple will complete the mediation process without ever finding the need to consult with an attorney.
Do We Need an Attorney?
- Before mediation - Steve encourages any party who has a specific legal question or issue that is significant in the divorce planning process to consult with an attorney before the mediation so that the party will be informed about the particular right or obligation that will ultimately become part of the settlement agreement.
- During mediation – If an issue comes up for which a party wants specific legal advice, Steve encourages the party to consult an attorney for the answer. During mediation, we may have a general discussion of legal principles or topics, but not specific advice to a particular party.
- After agreement – When the parties have reached a mediated settlement agreement, they are encouraged to take it to an attorney for review although there is no requirement to do so.
- Court system – Since filing for divorce involves the court system which can be frustrating to deal with and a number of documents must be prepared and filed in order to obtain a divorce, we can prepare and file all of the required documents and all you will need to do is appear at the final hearing.
When you consult with an attorney, we encourage you to work with your attorney as counsel or as a consultant rather than as a zealous advocate. The difference in deciding to use mediation is that you now make the decisions that will affect your life. An hour of an attorney’s time may be all you need to answer the questions you may have.
What if I've already been to an Attorney?
Even if you have already been to an attorney or even paid a retainer, simply advise the attorney that you want to mediate your divorce instead of litigating it. The attorney can advise you as to any specific issues before or during the mediation. The attorney can appear with you at mediation although it is generally better (and cheaper) to use the attorney as a consultant rather than as an advocate. You are not paying the high hourly rate for the attorney if he is not there. Also, unless both parties are represented at the mediation, the unrepresented party will often feel at a disadvantage and agreement is harder to achieve.
What if we need the help of other professionals?
If issues arise during mediation that require the expertise of other professionals such as financial planners, CPAs, actuaries, business valuation experts, and other specialists, they can be called upon as needed.