Which is most effective?
People often come to our Warwick law office telling us they want to use divorce mediation to help them reach an agreement, but typically they don’t understand how mediation works or the other ways their divorce attorney can help them arrive at a settlement agreement.
At Hoopis & Hoopis, our Rhode Island divorce attorney fully supports the use of mediation. It can be an excellent option that saves our clients time and money. But there are other times when it’s an unnecessary step and expense.
One of the most important roles of your divorce lawyer is to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. When we meet with you at the beginning of the divorce process, we ask you about the issues that are most important to you – what you really want to get at the end of the process, what is less optimal but still acceptable, and what you feel strongly you would not want to accept.
We are trained negotiators. We take that information and we work with the other side’s attorney to see if we can satisfy both parties. Sometimes we can arrive at a quick agreement and we’re able to write up settlement agreements promptly.
Sometimes it takes a few discussions before all of the issues are hammered out, but these discussions occur between the two attorneys. You do not have to be present so these negotiations won’t affect your personal schedule and if you’ve had a lot of conflict with your husband or wife you won’t have to engage with them.
In divorce mediation, both parties come to the table with a third party neutral mediator who facilitates discussion. The goal of mediation is to help you arrive at a mutually acceptable divorce agreement. To get there a wide range of issues can be addressed, including emotional issues that may be impairing your ability to work together.
Typically both parties are in the room together with the mediator. In some cases where there is a lot of conflict (or possibly abuse) the parties may be located in separate rooms and the mediator may go back and forth between them. Some couples find the divorce mediation process to be healing or to help them learn to work together better. In some cases, it can reduce bad feelings and help couples find new ways to work together … but now always.
It’s important to understand that the divorce mediator does not represent nor advocate for either party. A lawyer CAN represent you before, during and after mediation if you wish. By involving your own attorney, you are guaranteed to have confidential, independent legal advice when you need it.
At the conclusion of divorce mediation you will still need to file legal paperwork and you will still need to go to court. It’s advisable to have your own attorney review the written settlement agreement with you to ensure you understand the potential consequences of that agreement. And you will need an attorney to draft the paperwork for court.
Whether you wish to use divorce mediation or you want a lawyer to negotiate the terms of your divorce, a Rhode Island divorce attorney at Hoopis & Hoopis can represent your interests.