Divorce mediation: Can a mediator also be legal advisor?
British Columbia residents who are considering ending their marriages might have heard that they can avoid the costs and trauma typically associated with litigation. Opting for divorce mediation can provide a platform for peaceful negotiation by which both spouses have the opportunity to discuss their concerns. A qualified divorce mediator will facilitate the negotiations and encourage communication — and compromise when necessary — to help couples reach agreements that suit all concerned.
However, even though a divorce mediator can be a qualified lawyer, to avoid a conflict of interest, he or she may not give legal advice to either spouse. For that, and for valuable input, each party may have his or her legal representative present during mediation sessions. So, how can the mediator help? The experience of a qualified divorce mediator allows him or her to explain the laws related to property division, spousal support, child custody and child support.
After assessing the family dynamics, the mediator can make suggestions that may guide spouses to resolve their issues. These may include parenting plans, and although the court makes decisions about child support, spouses may discuss additional payments. The same goes for spousal support, financial decisions and property division for which couples may find their own solutions. Once the parties understand the laws related to these issues, it may be empowering to be able to make these decisions together rather than leaving it to a judge who has no intimate knowledge of the family.
Throughout negotiations, the respective lawyers can ensure their clients have fair participation. If couples can agree on all issues, their respective divorce lawyers can make sure the settlement agreement complies with the laws of British Columbia. However, if some issues prove unsolvable, couples may choose to let the court decide on those and then come to divorce mediation to draft a final agreement which the lawyers can present to the court.
Source: divorcesupport.about.com, “What Legal Issues Can a Divorce Mediator Discuss?“.
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