Regardless of how irreconcilable the differences between spouses are, divorce is commonly not a pleasant experience. Breaking up a home can be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting to the parties involved, especially when the matter affects children. In an effort to simplify and ease the process of divorce, some Texas couples are opting to use a mediator for negotiating property settlement agreements, asset division and even issues involving alimony and/or child support.
While it is true that using a mediator for handling a divorce is often significantly less expensive than hiring an attorney, there is good reason to either use the services of a qualified divorce lawyer entirely or to supplement the services of a mediator. This is especially true for divorces that involve valuable assets such as retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, real estate and offshore accounts.
Because a mediator can only provide legal information and cannot offer legal advice, either party in a divorce may forfeit a fair and equitable settlement by using only a mediator. Only an attorney who is experienced in matters of divorce, family law, estate planning and asset valuation will be able to provide knowledgeable guidance to divorcing spouses.
While there is no question that using a mediator is cheaper than hiring an attorney for a divorce, the old saying that ‘you get what you pay for” is a truth that cannot be denied. Even in instances where the parties believe their situation to be simple with few assets, it is almost always advisable to at least consult an attorney during the process to ensure that all aspects of current or contingent assets are reviewed and addressed.
Source: Huffington Post Divorce, “Mediation Myths and Misunderstandings That May Affect Your Decisions in Divorce“, Diane L. Danois, May 10, 2013