Divorce Mediator & Attorney | Can You Use Both?
Lisa: Your question?
Tim: Yes. So the myth was there’s no place for lawyers in mediation. And so if you use mediation, can you still have a lawyer?
That’s how I rephrase the question.
Lisa: Yes. So I am a non-attorney mediator. There are many attorney mediators out there.
But unfortunately, if they’re attorney mediators and they have their mediator had on they cannot give legal advice to their clients.
Lisa: But they do have the resources within their firm to have outside counsel or to have different kinds of referrals and those kinds of things within their firm.
Now as a non-attorney mediator, I really do suggest that they at least have a consultation each of them with an attorney in order to ask those legal questions that I cannot provide the answers for.
Even if I knew the answers, I’m not allowed to give them those kinds of advice.
Lisa: So yes, now as far as the mediation process, I know some mediators don’t mind having their attorneys in the room with them during the process and especially if they’re attorney mediators.
They know how the lingo works. They know how to handle them.
Personally, consult with your attorney. Call your attorney. Ask questions as much as you want.
Take your agreement to your attorney if you feel like that’s something that you would like them to review before you sign it.
But I don’t have the attorneys present during the mediation processes itself.
Tim: What’s the best way to involve the attorney?
Would you recommend that they or maybe it’s all of the above, maybe do they say, before they come to mediation go and ask legal questions to an attorney or your attorney so you can come in with the legal foundation?
Educationally, you can make informed decisions or do they go to an attorney during the process of things come up or after they have mediated and we’ve put that down on paper with the agreements.
Lisa: All of the above.
Tim: And any of those times would be…
Tim: …fine times to take it and…
Lisa: Yes, there’s never a time I’m going to say, ‘Ops, you’re not allowed to go to an attorney after this point.’
Lisa: So I want them to feel like they have that options that are able to retain control of the process that they are in charge.
They’re at the wheel of this mediation agreement. But again, like I said, so much more can happen and that feeling of being in control is easier to have when the attorneys aren’t present during the actual mediation when we’re talking and agreeing and asking the questions in going back and forth.
That the attorneys are always I will send whatever you want me to send you to your attorney.
I send out letters and summary letters after each mediation session to remind you what we talked about, what we agreed on and those can also go to your attorney if you feel like that you want them to look at those as well.
So yes, they are allowed to be the entire way. Before you come in, during the process, after the agreement is finished and you need to have that representation, so, you feel like you’re making the best decision as you can.
Tim: So what happens if the parties come in, they mediate, they come to an agreement, they go after their individual attorneys to say, ‘Hey, this is my best interest.’ and attorney advises them otherwise.
Have you had that happened? And how did you…
Lisa: Yes. I have that happened. And the attorney called. And I was able to talk to them.
And let them know with the confidentiality agreement in place the parties gave me permission to let the attorneys know what we have come to agree.
And it was just one particular point that they were worried about. And after we had a conversation and I talked about the session itself, they understood that this is probably the best for the client.
Obviously, they go right to their logbooks and to the [stat chips 04:07].
Lisa: And everything that’s in place and they want to protect their client. But they understood that this probably was the best for this particular situation.
Tim: Given the whole global this…
Lisa: So I have had that enough very often. But I think that if an attorney is always, I’m willing to meet with them.
I always get permission from the parties first because of the confidentiality part of mediation.
But I find that most attorneys if they’re clients feel like they are happy with this and this is something they really feel good about, the attorneys going to be okay with that.