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The Difference Between a Lawyer and a Mediator

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2021 | Family Law

The divorce process can be overwhelming to say the least. And as mediation becomes a popular alternative to litigation, people tend to confuse lawyers for mediators, and vice-versa.

Understanding Your Divorce Options

If you’re getting a divorce, it’s important to consult those within the legal system in order to ease the stress of the process and increase your chances of a favorable outcome. Most often, divorcing couples choose to work with either a mediator or an attorney.

  • Mediator. A neutral third party who works with both spouses in order to address conflicts and come to a mutual resolution. Mediators do not favor or work for any one party. And while mediators have not gone to law school, they do have extensive training in conflict resolution and family law matters.
  • Attorney (or lawyer). An attorney represents one spouse within a divorce and fights exclusively for what’s in their client’s best interest. It’s important to note that some lawyers can also be trained mediators and act unbiasedly.

A mediator can also work with each spouse’s attorney (rather than the spouses directly) in order to come to a mutual agreement.

While it may be tempting to assume a lawyer is your best option (and for some it certainly is), mediation has exploded in popularity over the past few years because it tends to:

Be Less Expensive

Legal fees can quickly add up in a divorce, especially if you and your spouse are having a tough time agreeing on certain matters.

Be More Efficient

Couples sometimes approach divorce as a battle that’s meant to be won. However, many people quickly learn that working together leads to a faster resolution and an all-around less stressful situation. By working together, you may be able to significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to be legally divorced.

Give Couples More Control

If you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement in your divorce, litigation states that a judge has the power to determine how the problem should be solved — and what the judge decides is set in stone (unless you try to change it through a formal modification). However, mediation gives you and your spouse the chance to come to a mutual understanding and agreement.

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