A Lawyer’s Role in the Mediation Process

Many people still have the sense that lawyers can only be of assistance in a traditional adversarial dispute. Today, we're discussing how lawyers can help protect your interests in the mediation process.

Please note: The script may not be exactly what is spoken, but contains the same information as presented in the video.

Hello, I’m Andrew Feldstein. As you may have already seen, our website provides extensive information about various alternatives to the court process for couples who are going through a separation or divorce. But many people still have the sense that lawyers can only be of assistance in a traditional adversarial dispute, where you and your spouse are arguing your case in court.
That is simply not the case. At Feldstein Family Law Group, we can help protect your interests and work towards a fair and equitable outcome, regardless of how you and your spouse choose to resolve your dispute.

Today, I am going to talk about two ways that our lawyers can assist you in the mediation process.

First, if you are planning to attend mediation with your spouse you can retain one of our lawyers to represent you at your mediation. Your lawyer will help prepare you for mediation, and will attend the mediation with you to negotiate on your behalf.

Here’s what that process looks like: Once you retain your lawyer, he or she will ensure that you have full disclosure from your spouse, so that you have all the facts before you start negotiation. That will allow you to make informed decisions about what you want in an agreement. Your lawyer can then help you identify and narrow the issues that need to be resolved, so that you are focused on the important legal issues going into your mediation. Your lawyer will also inform you of the applicable legal principles, provide a sense of what positions might be reasonable to take on the issues your facing, and suggest what an equitable resolution might look like. Your lawyer will also prepare a mediation brief, which states your version of the facts, summarizes the issues, and indicates what you hope to achieve in the mediation. This way, the mediator will be well prepared to assist in the resolution of your case.

When it comes time for the mediation, your lawyer will attend with you and represent your interests in the negotiation. There are many advantages to both parties having lawyers representing them in mediation. A mediator does not provide either spouse with legal advice, nor can the mediator make any final or binding decisions. But your lawyer can provide you with legal advice as the negotiation progresses, and will make sure that you understand your rights and the terms that are being discussed. Lawyers might also provide an additional incentive on parties to continue negotiations, and can help overcome any roadblocks you encounter in the negotiations. This in turn can help bring about a resolution more quickly.

Finally, either of the parties’ lawyers can draw up an agreement while the negotiations are taking place. In some cases, after a day of mediation, the parties will have agreed to all the matters at issue. Then, if an agreement has already been drawn up, the spouses can sign it the same day. The result is a full and final settlement to your family law case.

If you have chosen to pursue mediation but you do not want to hire a lawyer to represent you at your mediation, there is a second option. You can book a retain one of our lawyers, who will help prepare you for your mediation. We can explain to you the issues you are facing, such as child support, child custody and access, spousal support, or property division, and, based on the information you provide to us about your situation, we can explain what we think you might be entitled to, and what you might expect if you were to take your matter to court. We can help you figure out what you are willing to compromise on, and what you are not. We will also make sure you understand the laws governing your dispute, for example how the Child Support Guidelines work, or what equalization of net family property means. You can then enter your mediation better prepared, more informed of the relevant legal principles, and more confident in your ability to negotiate. That will help you and your spouse resolve your dispute out of court.

No matter which of these options you choose to pursue, your lawyer’s knowledge can help make sure your mediation runs more smoothly, is more efficient, and results in an agreement that is fair and binding.

For more information on Mediation, please visit our website. If you would like to speak with one of our lawyers about assisting you with your Mediation, please contact us at (905) 581-7222 to book a consultation.

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