Published in Family Law on September 14, 2020.
Mediation can be a great way to resolve your issues in a dissolution case and it doesn’t require a lawyer.
Though, I should warn any reader very early on that having a lawyer who is experienced to advise you in your divorce is a sound investment in your and your children’s future.
That said, here are ten things you should know about going this route:
- One or both parties can attend mediation without a lawyer in Indiana. That said, a party who attends without an attorney is at a significant disadvantage against the party who has counsel. A mediator cannot give you legal advice.
- You will probably want to use a mediator who is a family law attorney. While being an attorney is not required to mediate cases, mediators draft agreements which the courts then approve or reject (yes this happens). Having a lawyer draft the agreement will help ensure that everything your particular judge needs to see is in the agreement.
- Since a mediator cannot give you legal advice, they should not be preparing your initial filings. This means that you will need to do those on your own before scheduling the mediation.
- Mediation does not have to be done in one day, though most are.
- Mediation is far less expensive than hiring an attorney, though, once again, having an attorney at your side provides things a mediator cannot. Most mediators are going to charge $200 per hour or more.
- Mediators have to report crimes against children and the intent to commit a crime against someone else. These things are not confidential.
- Mediation is confidential otherwise. So, if you want to give it a try early on in your case and it doesn’t work out, you can go employ a lawyer after mediation and anything you offered will be confidential.
- The mediator will not tell you if you are “getting screwed” this would be akin to legal advice and not allowed. I look at it this way, if you can live with the final agreement even if you don’t love it, you are probably better off than had you gone to court.
- The mediator doesn’t pick sides. They should press both sides to come to a resolution. The mediator’s client is an agreement.
- When parties reach an agreement, they are far more likely to have fewer issues with carrying out the terms of their agreement. In other words, if you reach an agreement you are less likely to go back to court over the terms of the agreement than if you go to court and have a judge order something.
- Bonus: Mediation can be done via virtual meetings. So long as you have the ability to print and scan, there’s no reason for you to have to travel. Just make sure you have good wifi.
Contact Eskew Law Today
If you would like to schedule a mediation, the Mediators (who are also family law attorneys) at Eskew Law can help you out. Please give us a call and we can get started. We’ll need contact information for both parties and the cause number.