Counseled Mediation™ for Divorce

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Counseled Mediation™ is a mediation process that incorporates all the benefits of the collaborative law process without requiring your lawyer to withdraw from the case if you don’t settle. You can hire the best divorce advocate/litigator on an hourly basis, without a big, up-front retainer, and if the case doesn’t settle, unlike the collaborative process, have that same litigator who already knows the facts and issues, file the divorce suit for you. In Counseled Mediation™ for example, the lawyers are consulted by the parties and/or mediator when the parties are at impasse (fixated, stuck), when there’s a power imbalance, when the parties are far apart (proposals are outside a reasonable range of probabilities), when the parties can’t explain why his/her proposal is fair from a factual/legal standpoint, when there is ignorance or  misunderstanding about the law or when the parties have been given conflicting advice.

The single element differing Counseled Mediation™ from Collaborative Law is the lawyer’s contract to withdraw, which causes the lawyer to focus on settlement, by removing any need to think about or prepare for litigation. In comparison to Counseled Mediation™, the Collaborative Law is a cumbersome, slow, methodical, structured, expensive process.  In Collaborative law, the lawyers who are giving their clients legal advice are not neutral, yet they are jointly supposed to be in control of the process. They must give legal advice yet be careful not to overstep the self-imposed boundaries of the collaborative process so as to allow the parties to do the own negotiating. Only by bringing in more “experts” does the collaborative process have only one person in charge. In Counseled Mediation™ it is the mediator’s job to keep the lawyers informed, focused and transparent. The lawyers and parties sign a contract agreeing to cooperate with the mediator. The lawyers are only involved as the parties and/or mediator deem necessary, thus keeping better control over the attorneys’ fees.  In Collaborative Law it takes 3 or more professionals actively charging fees to accomplish what the mediator in Counseled Mediation™ can accomplish using those professionals sparingly, as needed. 

By choosing Counseled Mediation™ rather than Collaborative Law, parties can choose from over 75 area divorce lawyers rather than be limited to the less than 20 who are trained in collaborative law. In Counseled Mediation™ each of the parties also gives the mediator permission to speak frankly with his or her attorney and authorizes the attorney to do likewise with the mediator.  The mediator keeps the clients and their lawyers focused on settlement and helps resolve conflicting legal advice. As a neutral, the mediator has more leeway to resolve conflicting legal advice, to help the parties explore options and to move the parties toward a reasonable settlement.  The Counseled Mediation™ process has all the benefits of the Collaborative Law process without the extra time and expense of lawyer control.