Choosing to go to mediation for a divorce can seem like a great relief for the Ohio couples who choose it, since they have greater control over the final outcome of the divorce, including how their assets will be divided. However, some couples may wonder what part legal counsel plays in a mediation. Are attorneys even needed for a mediation? While mediations are not the same as judicial proceedings, attorneys still play important roles in a mediation.
The Ohio State Bar Association points out that mediators do not act as legal counsel for either side of the mediation. A mediator does not provide advice of a financial or legal nature. The purpose of the mediator is to oversee the mediation and help both sides reach a mutually agreed upon conclusion, so a mediator cannot advise either of the two parties in legal matters.
So to properly understand the legal and financial aspects a mediation can deal with, a divorcing couple should retain their own legal counsel. In addition to offering legal advice before or after a mediation session, attorneys can attend a mediation session in person if the spouse or spouses wish. A couple may also bring in the advice of financial experts or professionals to deal with certain questions, such as the division of large assets.
Additionally, attorneys may review a mediation agreement before it is finalized. If the attorney feels that the agreement is fair and will not infringe on any aspect of state or federal law, the attorney can place that agreement into an overall divorce decree that will be taken to the court. Retaining legal counsel may also help if the court has questions about the agreement.
This article, while intended to inform readers about divorce mediation, should not be taken as legal advice.