You would need barcher and others to speak to this in detail because we used a mediator but no lawyers, but...
Ok well how does it work when I've already filed my paperwork with the court and have a lawyer?
There are two components of the divorce to agree on:
1. Financial agreement
2. Parenting agreement
These have to be decided before the divorce is granted. So who to use to accomplish that? The court doesn't care, but they would love it if was decided outside of court. Easier.
Can I chose to use a mediator for thr majority if things and the lawer if wh become difficult?
I don't see why not. Just have your lawyer look over all final agreements, maybe keep them on consult.
If you use a mediator, you go back and forth (room to room, day to day, whichever) with the mediator guiding you toward compromise. "Ok, he looked at this and agrees with this but wants this." Then you work with your attorney to offer a response if necessary. Will you be nervous agreeing to things without an attorney looking at it first? The mediator could help, but they fall short of actually advising. Mine would not do that. She said things like, "It's a commom request, but it's up to you."
You are paying attorney fees and paying the mediator, but the court is not deciding! You are involved in the deciding...if you can get to an agreement this way. I'm not sure if using an attorney shortens or lengthens the time, or increases or decreases the cost. But their participation would be necessary in your case because you'd be nervous about what he's trying to get away with, right?
I was told that when both portions are presented and signed, the judge just usually signs. Done. An attorney is NEVER required unless you bring one in.
Then your other option is attorneys trying to negotiate agreement, same as mediation but without the mediator's skills of compromise. This is just sent back and forth between offices. And then if no agreement, it most likely goes to court where the decisions are OUT of your hands. The court decides. You just wait to hear their decision, and you may hate it.
Others can elaborate in more detail, but mediation felt like control. It felt like I could negotiate. The idea of court felt...cold, uninformed, and out of my control entirely. You can think a judge will see it your way, but crazy things happen in family court.
I dont understand how a mediator is any different than a lawyer other than cost.
To me a mediator felt like an MC + an attorney in one person. They have people skills. They can offer ideas for compromise or movement that a lawyer wouldn't offer because they are not representing both parties. Each lawyer is fighting for their client. But the mediator is fighting for a reasonable win/win compromise. The judge? Who knows. You get who you get, and they see things how they see things. It feels so arbitrary. A mediator actually felt helpful. However, if your ex cannot be trusted, an attorney would be required at some point. Too many things can go wrong, even with a great mediator.
BUT both parties have to be truly negotiating and moving. Many times one person asks for the sky ("I am not paying a cent") and isn't really there to compromise. Then don't waste time and money. Head to court if there is not movement each session. That's how the costs skyrocket.
[This message edited by OwningItNow at 3:36 AM, Monday, July 31st]