Divorce – Mediator vs. Attorney

Divorce & Child Custody – When Should You Mediate?

Divorce is such a volatile word. It’s often times said out of anger, frustration, pain…or when you and your spouse have reached that point where staying together doesn’t make sense any longer. When talk about divorce comes up, the first thing that needs to be understood is if you need a mediator or an attorney.

What is the difference?

The difference between a mediator and an attorney are significant, including their role, responsibilities, and philosophy in divorce.

– A mediator works for both parties to help them negotiate the issues so that the parties can come to an agreement; an attorney works for one party only negotiating for their client to ensure that they get the best deal

      – A mediator provides guidance and recommendations about what can be expected if the parties go to court but will not provide legal or financial advice and will not tell the parties what they should do, working instead with them to help them understand what it is that they want; an attorney provides representation for the party and will give legal advice regarding the ramifications for different options while even trying to persuade the party to follow what the attorney believes is best

– A mediator promotes and encourages the parties to identify creative and collaborative options that will satisfy the interests of both parties as well as other interested parties (i.e. children); an attorney will look at the law and the facts of the case and will fight for getting what is “right” based upon a standard or guideline for the party that they represent


When is a mediation not a good choice?

Though divorce mediation, in most cases, can provide the individuals involved a greater amount of freedom and independence, mediation is not always the best path forward. Examples where a divorce attorney should be considered include:

  • If the couple has a history of physical abuse and/or physical threats
  • If one spouse has irrefutable control over the ability of the other spouse which could impede or restrict their ability to make informed decisions that are in their best interest
  • If one spouse is unwilling, or unable, to compromise but instead seems to just want to fight


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