Does each spouse need their own lawyer for a mediation divorce?
Getting your own attorney is not required in a mediation divorce, but is an option. In divorce mediation, each spouse decides for themself whether to get advice from their own lawyer.
If you decide to talk to your own attorney, consider doing so:
- before divorce mediation sessions start, or
- ahead of signing legal documents that make the terms decided in mediation enforceable.
Why some spouses get their own attorney for divorce mediation
A divorce mediator does not represent either spouse. This means that a divorce mediator:
- won't advise either spouse about their individual legal rights,
- won't negotiate to gain advantage for one spouse over the other,
- won't evaluate whether the terms of divorce decided in mediation are right for either spouse individually.
So, in mediation a divorcing spouse might hire their own lawyer to:
- get advice about individual divorce rights,
- review legal documents before signing.
Each spouse gets to decide for themself whether to consult their own lawyer during a mediation divorce. If you decide to hire your own attorney, consider one who is:
- experienced in family law,
- upfront about fees and payment terms,
- familiar with divorce mediation.
Why some spouses don't get their own attorney for divorce mediation
Some divorcing couples find that their divorce mediator provides enough legal information and assistance. An experienced divorce mediator will:
- provide general legal information during divorce mediation sessions,
- make sure divorcing wives and husbands discuss all important topics.
So, either spouse participating in divorce mediation may choose not to hire their own lawyer if they:
- are satisfied with the legal information provided by the divorce mediator;
- are okay with the terms of divorce discussed and decided in mediation;
- want to keep the cost of divorce mediation as low as possible.
I support and respect each spouse's choice about whether to get separate legal advice and representation. Some choose to consult with their own lawyer, but husbands and wives are not required to hire separate lawyers for divorce mediation.
If you choose not to hire your own lawyer, consider reading each legal document carefully before signing, to make sure its terms are right for you.
If you were working with your own lawyer before divorce mediation
Sometimes divorcing wives and husbands come to mediation after a court case has started. If papers have been filed with a court, divorce mediation cannot begin until I receive consent from each spouse's attorney (per Pennsylvania lawyer ethics rules).
When spouses ask, their lawyers often consent to divorce mediation right away. Divorce attorneys who know me know that:
- I respect their attorney-client relationship,
- I support their important role in providing legal advice to their client,
- I limit my practice to divorce mediation (since 2012) after 23 years as a divorce litigator.
Divorce mediation for you and your spouse
Consider sharing this website with your spouse. If both of you are interested in a mediation divorce, the next step is to schedule a free consultation about divorce mediation.
I wish you and your spouse much peace and well-being!Dann Johns
Divorce Mediator & Attorney