Why Hire a Lawyer Before Family Dispute Resolution Mediation?

Law Blog

If you and your partner want to divorce, then you might need to go through a Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) process. Here, you both meet with a trained mediator. If all goes well, you'll come to an agreement on issues such as child custody, maintenance payments and assets division before you go down the formal divorce route.

While you don't have to consult a family lawyer at this stage, this is sometimes a good thing to do. Why?

Find Out About Your Rights

You might not know your legal standpoint at this stage in your life. You might not know much about your rights or responsibilities or those of your partner. You also might not know how your divorce might impact your children from a legal standpoint.

Some people think that this won't be a problem because their mediators will help. However, mediators are neutral participants in your meetings. They are there to give both of you a safe space and the tools to talk.

FDR mediators are not there to give either of you legal advice. They might be able to provide basic legal information as it applies to your situation, but they won't go further than that. So, by the end of your session, you might be none the wiser from a legal perspective.

If you consult a family lawyer before your mediation starts, then you can find out exactly where you stand. Your lawyer isn't neutral. They represent you and your interests.

So, the mediation process should work better for you if you have this knowledge. You're less likely to agree to things that affect you negatively if you know your legal position. You're more likely to come out of the process with a resolution that works for you.

Review Your Mediation Plan

If the plan you produce after FDR mediation has to go to the courts, then you might assume that your divorce will get through quickly from that point. However, this isn't always the case. If the court decides that your plan doesn't meet its requirements, or isn't lawful or fair, then it won't automatically approve it.

Your divorce could take longer. Plus, your costs will go up if you have to go through the FDR process again.

If you hire a family lawyer, they can check over your plan. If they spot problems, then they can talk to you about them and give you advice on how to change them.

To find out more, contact a family law firm and ask to speak to one of their lawyers.


26 April 2022

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