When should I speak to a lawyer? Before, During or After Mediation?

When you speak to a lawyer is mostly a matter of personal preference. Some people consult with a lawyer just once or twice, and others hire a lawyer to represent them before and during the mediation. Plenty of people wait until an agreement has been drafted, and take the agreement and financial disclosures to a lawyer to review to make sure it’s fair under the circumstances.

When and if to consult with a lawyer depends on your needs, preferences and, to some extent, your budget.

Many people speak to a lawyer before going into mediation in order to plan for the mediation session. If you know your rights and a likely “best case” and “worst case” outcome for your case, you can formulate sensible proposals to use in your mediation session(s).

Other people wait until they’re in mediation to speak to a lawyer. That way, they have an idea of what their spouse’s income and assets are as well as their spouse’s position with respect to finances and custody. The lawyer helps them to figure out the next steps in coming to an agreement, to make fair proposals based on California law.

Some people hire a lawyer to represent them before the mediation and have their lawyer participate in the mediation sessions. Others hire a lawyer more like a mediation “coach” and use the lawyer only for advice and counseling, not to attend the mediation sessions, but to help them plan, find out more about the family finances, make sure their rights are protected and formulate proposals for use in the mediation sessions.

At Peace Talks Mediation, your mediator may suggest that you consult with a mediation-friendly attorney if he or she sees that you’re at all unsure about your legal rights or a likely outcome in Court

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