How to choose the right legal separation process for you?
It is sometimes hard to determine if a couple should choose mediation or Collaborative Law. And in some particular occasions, going to court may even be necessary.
The choice of legal process is vitally important to the medium to long-term well being of your family. It is recommended that you discuss these issues with your lawyer before making a final decision on any type of legal process.
In my initial meetings with clients, I help them to get a sense of what process is best suited for their needs, and I make recommendations for other professionals if I am not the right person for the matter.
Should the lawyers be present?
If a couple participates in meetings without lawyers, they end up paying only one professional, which is one of the least expensive legal processes available.
However, this may be a double edge sword because frequently people should not negotiate difficult financial issues without their lawyers present. So the couple has to factor in the cost of the 3 professionals: the two lawyers and the mediator. But mediation with lawyers present is still a popular process because the skill of the neutral third party in bringing people and their lawyers aligned will end up benefiting the family.
Also, if the lawyers are not present during the mediation negotiations, couples run the risk of one of both partners’ lawyers doubting the clients’ choices and embarking on other rounds of negotiations when it’s time to sign the Separation Agreement.
Clients could decide to participate in the mediation meetings without their lawyers, but will work with their respective lawyers in between mediation meetings. This will greatly help the clients be ready to negotiate the issues that will be discussed at each mediation meeting.
Mediation can therefore end up being more, or less, costly than other processes depending on how much cooperation there is and the complexity of the issues.
The process is very flexible and can move fairly quickly
The couple in the mediation process forms an integral part of planning their legal separation. This can be very empowering and useful as it helps the couple shape their future for the benefit of their family and their children.