Mediation involves you and your spouse sitting down with a trained professional to try to sort out your disagreements. A successful mediation session results in a signed agreement that will make your divorce a lot faster.
Mediation can be a great tool to protect your privacy and keep your costs low. However, one of the big mistakes people make when trying to keep mediation affordable is to decide not to have their own lawyer. Having your own attorney during mediation is very important to avoid making serious mistakes like those below.
You could push for or set terms that violate state law
You and your spouse could waste a lot of time in negotiations trying to achieve specific results that violate state law and likely won’t be enforceable in court. It’s also possible that you might agree to such terms without realizing how inappropriate they are if your spouse asks for certain concessions. When you have your own lawyer present, there is someone there to let you know if the terms you request or agree to won’t hold up in court.
You could make mistakes with the agreement that invalidate it
Including provisions that violate state law in your mediation agreement is only one possible mistake that you could make. There have been many instances where couples have failed to sign the documents properly. Improperly executed documents could cause issues, especially if your spouse decides they’d rather back out of the agreement and push for more in a contested filing.
Your spouse could bully or railroad you
Even if you’ve always had a pretty friendly relationship, your spouse could become quite aggressive during mediation. They might use guilt, shame or coercion to convince you to agree to terms that don’t benefit you. Having a lawyer there means having someone to help you negotiate and push back against aggressive behavior during mediation.
When you have your own legal representation, you can be confident that you can avoid the most common mistakes and protect yourself.