Do I need a Lawyer during Divorce Mediation?
A lawyer is not required to get divorced in California.
Like so many things, however, just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. At Peace Talks, we encourage people to use lawyers’ and other professionals’ time wisely and cost-effectively to suit their needs and level of comfort. That may mean you speak to a lawyer for an hour, or it may mean that you hire a lawyer to represent you during the mediation sessions. It depends on what you feel you need the lawyer to do.
How Do I Know if I Need A Lawyer During Divorce Mediation?
Whether or not you need to have a lawyer depends on many factors. Generally, it’s a good idea to at least consult a mediation-friendly attorney no matter how comfortable you are with what you know about your family’s situation and your legal rights.
Most people speak with a lawyer at least for an hour or two to get an idea of how California’s laws might apply in their particular case, and to get an idea of a “best case” and “worst case” outcome for their case. You can use that information to formulate proposals in mediation and to negotiate with your spouse. It helps to have some guidelines and professional advice. Some people hire a lawyer to review a proposed agreement to see if it’s fair. These are all cost-effective ways to use a lawyer’s help in your case.
At Peace Talks, we welcome your lawyer’s input and participation, but we also deal with many clients who elect not to be represented by a lawyer, too.
How much representation you’ll want or need depends on your level of comfort with your knowledge of your family’s finances, custody situation and legal rights, as well as your budget. If you’re feeling uncomfortable with any of these issues, you probably need to at least consult with a lawyer for an hour or two. If you’re feeling very uncomfortable about these issues, you may wish to hire a lawyer to represent you for the entire case, even if you intend to participate in mediation.