Reasons to instruct a lawyer prior to family mediation

Increasingly, separating couples are looking for alternative methods of dispute resolution to traditional divorce in the family courts. The traditional court based approach to divorce is increasingly considered by many to lead to unnecessary cost, delay and bitterness. One of methods favoured by separating couples today is family mediation which is usually cheaper, more amicable and quicker than court divorce in the majority of cases. This method does not necessarily require a lawyer during discussions and the emphasis is upon spouses working towards a settlement themselves. However, before the separation agreement can be made binding, parties will need to receive legal advice.

There is a common misconception that all family lawyers will attempt to force clients to push for everything they can get out of a divorce, picking up legal fees as the process drags on. Whilst a few such lawyers may unfortunately be practicing, the vast majority are simply committed to helping their clients reach fair outcomes without delay and acrimony. Ultimately, a good family lawyer will have a number of clients who need to their time so they are unlikely to want to waste time unnecessarily on cases and most importantly, they are keen to protect their reputations.

Family mediation – do I need to instruct my own lawyer first?

So, why instruct a family lawyer before the mediation process starts? First and foremost, it is important to remember that family law is very complex meaning that it can be very difficult to enter into a process like family mediation if you are unsure of how the law could affect you. An expert family lawyer will be able to advise you on the range of possible outcomes from your divorce settlement meaning that you are entering discussions with an idea of what a fair settlement would be. Receiving such legal advice early on means that parties should not end up in a position whereby a settlement is agreed only for one spouse to later discover that they have been given an unfair share. Without such advice, parties could end up in court which is of course what they sought to avoid in the first place by choosing family mediation.

Instructing a family solicitor early on also means that you can be sure that the settlement you emerge with fulfils the necessary legal criteria and is fair on those involved. After all, it would be disastrous if you worked towards an agreement only to discover that it’s unlawful.

Divorce – whether it’s pursued in court or through mediation – is a very emotional and often stressful process which can make it difficult to be reasonable during discussions. Your lawyer will be able to tell you honestly if your demands are reasonable whilst also offering support throughout the entirety of the process. In many ways, it is better to have a lawyer providing this support during mediation meetings than a friend or relative because your lawyer will not be emotionally invested in the case. As much as you want a sympathetic and personable lawyer, you ultimately want them to be professional and to focus on achieving a fair outcome.

Our expert family mediation lawyers can help you – call [01722] 422300 today

Here at Bonallack and Bishop, we are big fans of both family mediation and collaborative law as sensible ways for many couples to handle their divorce and relationship breakdown. Two of our family lawyers are also trained family mediators and three of them are also fully accredited collaborative lawyers. What’s more, they are committed specialists – family law is all they do. As a result they have vast experience and specialist knowledge to draw upon meaning that they are perfectly placed to advise you on the family mediation process – whether as your lawyers advising in the mediation process, or as the appointed family mediator in your case.

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