Differences Between A Divorce Lawyer and Mediator

Updated on March 15, 2021
Updated: May 23, 2022

The divorce process can be gruesome and difficult no matter your location or the circumstances revolving around your divorce settlement case.

What will be even more difficult is deciding whether to get a divorce lawyer or a divorce mediator to help you out. If you do not know what either does, you will not be able to decide who will be the right fit for you.

When you are knowledgeable about all available divorce alternatives, you will be able to make informed and educated decisions. Let's take a closer look at the differences between divorce lawyer and mediator.

What Are The Differences Between a Divorce Lawyer and Mediator?

Let us take a look at the role of mediator and a lawyer's role so you can decide which you want to go.

The Role of a Lawyer

Each client hires a divorce lawyer who will represent them during divorce proceedings. The lawyer's role is to make sure that the client who hired them gets the best possible outcome.

What Happens During Traditional Litigation

Every party is represented by their lawyer. Instead of talking it out on their own, they tell their lawyers what they expect from the divorce, and both lawyers meet so they can negotiate. If they are unable to reach an agreement, they then proceed to court.

The litigation process will differ depending on the couple and the state or county that you live in.

A court date is set after negotiations fail, and the divorce lawyer must prepare evidence to present during proceedings. Witnesses and various subjects may be called upon during proceedings.

During the divorce trial a family law judge listens and gives a divorce decree on child support, custody, or division of property based on what has been presented.

The Role of a Mediator

A mediator listens to both parties and helps them come up with an alternative resolution. The neutral mediator acts as a third party and helps those involved to agree.

During the divorce mediation process, both parties will have full control over the decisions and choices they make. The mediator will only be actively involved in helping the couple come to a mutual and fair decision on their property division, financial lives after divorce, child custody, child support, and so on.

About Collaborative Divorce/Collaborative Divorce Process

Collaborative divorce or collaborative divorce process is an implementation of two methods. The divorce method implements both traditional litigation and divorce mediation methods.

How Does It Work?

In the collaborative process each party will hire a divorce attorney to represent them. The job of the collaborative lawyers, as always, is to ensure that their client gets the most favorable outcome.

A participation agreement is signed. The contact is supposed to state that both parties, including the attorneys representing them, are committed to using dispute resolution techniques. They agree to not use aggressive tactics in negotiating on various issues about the divorce.

During this type of mediation proceedings, the couple meets with their lawyers, a mediator, and other professionals depending on the issues being tackled. Professionals that can be involved include;

  • Mental health specialist
  • Child Specialists
  • Financial experts
  • Divorce coaches
  • And other specialists
divorce mediation

Instances When You Will Need a Divorce Lawyer

During a divorce, married couples would want to settle things amicably without any trouble. Sometimes despite them wishing to have a good settlement, it is not possible. Here are instances where you will need to hire a divorce lawyer to represent you.

  • Your spouse does not want to mediate
  • When you do not have full disclosure about all marital assets
  • You worried about your safety and the safety of your children. Incase of violent relationship
  • If your spouse cannot make sound decisions. It may be because they are unwell or the other party is an addict.
  • If you are having property settlement agreement disputes
  • Help with unresolved financial matters

There are different divorce options to choose from. However, we are here when you need a family lawyer who will help you deal with the legal process concerning your divorce.

How Long Does A Mediated Divorce Take Compared to Lawyer-Driven Divorce Litigation?

The mediation process will determine how long the couple will take to get divorced. If the couple can agree on all divorce issues, they will finalize their divorce in months. Six months after the family law jugde approves the divorce.

Your mediation agreement should take less time compared to the litigation process. Some couples can solve their issues in one sitting, while others may need to come to a few other sessions. How quickly the mediation process will end up will depend on the depth of issues they need to solve, the parties' willingness to agree, and how they communicate. 

Usually the cost of divorce in divorce mediation is low and the duration even shorter. Now, if you and your spouse are not willing to mediate or feel that you want more benefits of divorce, you can get legal representation.

Mediation Vs Divorce Litigation? How Long Divorce Litigation Takes

The traditional divorce approach to divorce will take longer as opposed to the mediation process. Your fate lies in the judge's decision. The court's proceeding will as well take longer if there are witnesses that need to be called upon, experts and professionals that need to be consulted, and as well the evidence being presented. There are a lot of factors that will determine how long the litigation process will last.

While most couples would like to take to go for mediation since the cost of mediation is less and will take up less of their time, it is not the best option for everyone. Not everyone will have a simple divorce case that is why you may need to go thrpugh a standard lawyer-driven divorces process. 

We would like to hear from you. Call us for a divorce consultation, and we will advise on the best way to move forward. 

Protecting Your Rights As a Mediating Spouse

Even if you choose to have a mediator help you with your divorce proceedings, it would still be advisable to talk to a family law attorney. The mediator will only help you to agree on the decisions you make. A mediator is more focused on having you both reach a mutual agreement, and they will not be able to give you any legal advice.

Having one of our lawyers by your side during the mediation process will help you understand your rights and what you are entitled to. We would want you to make informed decisions, and when you talk to us during the mediation process, we can give you sound advice.

divorce mediation with children

After the mediation process, the mediator or an attorney will draft your agreement in a document based on the conclusion you have come to. The agreement will then have to be presented to a judge. If the judge does not think the agreement is fair, they will not give you the go-ahead for the divorce.

We can help you draft a divorce agreement that will appease the judge. We will go over the document and help you fill in any missing parts, so you don't end up wasting any time. With our legal expertise and advice, we will help you develop a document that will get you the results you want. 

Does Your Mediator Have to Be a Lawyer?

Your mediator can be a lawyer, but they do not have to be. In fact, most mediators are not lawyers and they don't have extensive knowledge on divorce laws. However, you can have your family attorney act as your mediator or choose to have your therapist, financial advisor, or child expert mediate. It will depend on the issues that you need to agree on.

Divorce attorneys and other legal practitioners feel that they have acquired the necessary skills to act as mediators for couples wanting to finalize their divorce. This is because of their many years of practice or knowledge they have acquired, and for that reason, it is not unusual to find mediators who are also attorneys.

Some feel that lawyers would not be the best mediators. They feel that they are not equipped with non-combative tactics to help parties going through a divorce to solve conflict and agree. Mediators should be individuals who are neutral, and attorneys are used to taking sides during proceedings. Professionals who have received the training to be mediators can help couples conclude matters concerning their divorce.

When you opt for mediation, you will not need to hire any lawyers for divorce unless you need legal advice on certain issues. Even if you are not interested in taking your case to court, you can keep in touch with us, consult, and ask us questions about divorce. They can be about division of property/division of assets, financial issues, child support, and other issues. call us and to talk to one of our consulting lawyers. 

You Can't Advocate For Yourself? Don't Worry We've Got You Covered

You do not have to do it all by yourself, and nobody expects you to. You are already dealing with so much right now, and we would like to take a load off of you. We may not help you with everything else, but we can represent you and make sure you get what you deserve.

Read more from Tommalieh Law on 'Taking Care of Yourself During A Divorce"

You are thinking about your future and the future of your children, and so are our legal separation experts! We are passionate about ensuring families get back on their feet after a traumatic experience. Divorce is traumatic for couples and even more traumatic for kids who are confused about what is happening.

We want to make the whole experience smooth for you to get back to living your life. We listen, and we know what to do about your divorce matter. Get in touch with our Orland Park family lawyers at Tommalieh Law. We want to hear from you!

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