I have had many clients come to my office and say, “My ex just wants a mediator and doesn’t want me to have a lawyer.” There are many preconceived notions and myths about mediators that we often must debunk, but a person believing that mediation means you shouldn’t have your own attorney, has to be
the most detrimental of them all. Hiring or consulting with your own attorney prior to committing to mediation, or even after attending a mediation session, does not mean that you intend on litigating your matter, it simply means you want to protect yourself.
Mediation is a great resource where parties in low conflict cases can sit down together to resolve their matter. It is significant to note that I did not say “low income/asset,” which is another myth people often believe. Just because there are a lot of assets or income does not mean mediation is not the right choice for you. Regardless of your financial circumstance, if you want to mediate or settle your matter amicably, having your own attorney is your right. Often, it is found in relationships where one party customarily made all the decisions, they attempt to manipulate the other party into believing having their own attorney means they want a fight. However, in many of these situations, each party having representation often leads to the case resolving quickly and equitably for both parties involved, as having one’s own representation gives the party confidence that they are entering into a fair agreement, and not one they may feel bullied into.
Whether you decide to litigate or mediate, the most important thing you can do is speak with an attorney before, so that you can make sure you are well informed of your choices and options.