Divorce Attorney or Mediator?

San Diego Lawyers Advising Spouses on Family Law Proceedings

Making the decision to get a divorce is a difficult step. But that decision is just the beginning of a process that involves additional questions and problems. Who will move out of the family home? How will each of you support yourselves during the divorce and after it is final? How will you divide up marital property? Where will the children live? Even when both parties are committed to resolving these matters, the complexity of the issues that must be addressed can seem overwhelming, and navigating your way through the legal process can be daunting. Under these circumstances, it is easy to understand why many people seek outside help by hiring a San Diego divorce lawyer, by working with a mediator, or both. If you need more information about whether retaining an attorney or a mediator is right for you, contact Doppelt & Forney. We represent clients in San Diego and the surrounding communities in a variety of family law matters.

What Are the Advantages of Hiring a Divorce Attorney Versus a Mediator?

Usually, the longer that a couple has been married, the more that their social and financial lives have become integrated. As a result, in the absence of a prenuptial agreement, disentangling these matters takes work: combing through financial records, reviewing tax returns, gathering account registers and pay records, obtaining appraisals on property, and so on. Once this preliminary work is done, there is still the need to negotiate and agree on a settlement. In the midst of employment and family obligations, and given the emotional turmoil that often accompanies a divorce, it is small wonder that couples often seek outside help. One option is for each party to hire an attorney.

A key reason why some people are wary of hiring divorce lawyers is because of the need to pay legal fees. As with many of these types of decisions, however, the parties need to weigh the respective costs and benefits of the proposition. Experienced divorce attorneys know the inner workings of the legal process. In addition, their experience with divorce, their detachment from the emotional aspects of a particular situation, and their ability to dedicate full attention to the legal issues gives them an advantage in formulating proposals, handling negotiations, and advocating for their clients. Even more, in a contentious divorce or a situation in which a spouse may be hiding assets or otherwise being less than fair or forthright, an attorney has the resources and fortitude to investigate, as well as shield a client from being pressured or duped into accepting an inadequate settlement.

Accordingly, when you consider hiring a divorce attorney as your advocate, you cannot look just at cost as an isolated factor. You need to consider whether the cost will be offset by the very real benefits that a divorce lawyer may be able to provide in your particular case.

A mediator, however, serves a different role. In some divorces, particularly when it is relatively amicable and the contested issues are few, a mediator can facilitate the ability of the spouses to work things out. Divorce mediators are attorneys who specialize in helping San Diego couples settle disputes privately as neutral advisors. They provide information and input on procedures as well as the substantive principles of divorce law. The mediator’s presence as a third party in negotiations keeps the parties focused and unemotional. In addition, once an agreement is reached, the mediator can draft the documents that must be submitted to the court in a way that accurately reflects the terms of the agreement. Although a mediator also charges fees, the mediator is serving both parties, so the fees are shared equally with some exceptions.

Call Doppelt & Forney for Help in Determining Whether You Need a Divorce Attorney

Since the terms of a divorce settlement have grave and long-term consequences, it is critical that you get them right; there are no second chances (with limited exceptions). In many cases, obtaining outside help is critical. But which sort of outside help is best for your situation? For a free consultation to discuss whether you would benefit from representation by a divorce attorney or the participation of a divorce mediator, or both, contact one of the San Diego lawyers at Doppelt & Forney, APLC. Call 800.769.4748 or contact us online. We serve residents of cities such as San Diego, Chula Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, La Jolla, Point Loma, Coronado, Del Mar, Ramona, El Cajon, La Mesa, and nearby communities.

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