When you told your friends you were going through divorce mediation, many of them thought you were going through counseling. After all, it sounds like a measure you take before you split up, not a way of going through the divorce itself. You explained the process to them, but they were still confused about the process. Do you still need a lawyer? Will you have to give up a lot of your possessions? And, isn’t it going to be harder to mediate than to just “sign the papers” and get it over with?

Understanding the Reasons and Goals Behind Divorce Mediation

The truth is, no matter how you and your spouse feel about each other, there are significant money and property issues that must be handled before you can dissolve the marriage. Divorce is rarely a “sign on the line” affair that is over in a day—it is a long process, and can require many hard decisions. Mediation can help you make each “business” decision—such as custody and property—before the divorce is final, helping the process to go much more smoothly and quickly.

The Role of a Lawyer in Divorce Mediation

While you don’t necessarily need a lawyer, a mediator should help you through the decision-making process. Divorce lawyers are specially equipped to handle mediation because they are familiar with the common questions and problems that arise from separation.

The role of a lawyer in mediation is threefold: to help you through the divorce negotiations, to use his or her own knowledge to create solutions to problems, and to prepare your divorce paperwork once you and your spouse have come to an agreement. Here are the primary ways your attorney can help you through the process:

  • Gathering information. You may not know the answers to certain questions, such as how much the house is worth, or if your spouse has additional assets that she or he can live off of. An attorney can gather financial records, estimate sales prices and project future costs, helping you to make decisions based on what is fair for each of you.
  • Knowing the ropes. Most divorcing couples in Seattle have never gone through a divorce before, but attorneys who have gone through the process many times can let you know what to expect, what your options are, and if you are being unrealistic about your expectations.
  • Practical solutions. Many people enter into a divorce knowing only what they want, not with a solution that works best. A mediating lawyer helps you make decisions that will work in real-life situations, making it more likely that you will reach a lasting compromise.

You can find out if you are a good candidate for divorce mediation by reading the related articles on this page or by clicking the contact link above to ask us how we can be of service.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington