Divorce is an incredibly complex and upsetting process for all involved. The breakdown of a marriage is never expected, and people often hope that it can be resolved amicably. To give this the best possible chance of occurring, many people begin the process of divorce mediation.
What is divorce mediation?
Mediation is the process of hiring a neutral third party to assist a couple with their divorce, without ‘taking sides.’ There are two different forms of mediation. The first, referred to as a ‘mediated divorce,’ is when mediation is engaged from the beginning of the divorce proceedings. Mediation when all other forms of negotiation have been exhausted is the second form, and usually begins when the two parties cannot agree on how to proceed.
What can a divorce mediator do?
As of 2017, mediators in Wisconsin can provide legal information pertaining only to both parties, as well as file and draft documents related to the divorce. This can be useful as it takes a lot of the pressure off of you and your partner. A mediator may inform you and your spouse of the laws surrounding divorce, and help you reach a decision that is agreeable to both parties.
What can a divorce mediator not provide?
Crucially, divorce mediators cannot provide legal advice to either party. If you have questions regarding the fairness of an agreement, how the law applies to you alone or whether you are getting the best possible outcome, then the next step is to contact a divorce lawyer.
When to hire a divorce lawyer
If your partner has engaged the services of a divorce lawyer, it is a good idea to have your own lawyer on retainer. This means that if legal papers are served to you, you have someone on your side who understands the legal process of divorce and can provide you advice on what is fair for you.
It is also a good idea to engage the services of a divorce lawyer if your spouse has a history of financial impropriety, and you are concerned that they may misspend money during the course of the divorce.
Of course, when children are involved, divorce is always more complex. If you are concerned about the welfare of your child/ren, feel that custody disputes may arise, or are otherwise seeking advice about children in divorce proceedings, a divorce lawyer can help.
In conclusion, a divorce mediator is a third party who will help you and your spouse work through the legal process of a divorce, assisting you in drafting and filing any necessary paperwork. However, a mediator cannot tell you what is fair for you or provide advice, so if you are struggling to tell whether you are getting the best deal, a divorce lawyer might be necessary.
With over 50 combined years of family law experience, Vanden Heuvel & Dineen S.C. are the premier family law firm in Wisconsin. Contact us today for a free consultation and find out how we can help you.