Q: What’s the difference between a mediator and a family attorney?
Typically, for a divorcing couple, a mediator is someone who simply helps facilitate the discussion of divorce proceedings in Maryland. He or she is a third party, with no particular attachment to either side. A mediator will:
- Listen to both sides
- Ask questions
- Try to help you and your spouse find common ground
- Offer possible solutions for you and your spouse to consider
A mediator will not take sides or offer you legal advice. He or she cannot legally require either spouse to agree to any particular term. For example, if your spouse flat out refuses to compromise on child custody issues, there is little a mediator can do to help you.
If you’re looking to settle matters congenially, a mediator can help keep the meetings running smoothly. However, if you’re worried that you are not getting a fair deal, you may want to consult with an attorney. A Maryland divorce lawyer will:
- Offer legal advice that protects your interests
- Negotiate on your behalf
- Keep your best interests in mind, not necessarily your spouse’s interests
- Take the case to court if you feel your needs are not being adequately met
Be wary of your spouse suggesting that his or her lawyer be the mediator for your conversations. A lawyer will naturally care more about the interests of the person paying the lawyer’s fees.
Depending on the circumstances of your relationship, you and your spouse may be able to get the job done solely with the help of a mediator. Or solely with attorneys. In other situations, your lawyer may suggest that you enlist the aid of a mediator to help facilitate discussions between you, your spouse, and your respective lawyers.
For more information on how mediation works or how to find a mediator, contact us or call Nickelsporn & Lundin, P.C. toll-free at 800-875-9700.