I am always amazed when I get a call from a prospective client and they turn out to be an attorney. Although generally not a divorce attorney but an attorney practicing some other area of law. And sometimes the husband and wife are both attorneys.
When we speak and discuss their divorce, I always ask the same question knowing I almost always get the same answer. The question is:
“I’m not a lawyer. Why would you come to me, a non-lawyer, to mediate your divorce? I would just assume that you would go to divorce lawyers.”
And they answer:
“We don’t want to go to divorce lawyers because if we do, it is going to cost too much. We are going to be very unhappy and the lawyers are going to end up with all the money. As attorneys we know the litigation process and we don’t want that. We are coming to you because we understand that with mediation, we can cooperate and try to figure this out together. If we do, we are going to have a much better outcome and it is going to cost far less. That is why we are choosing mediation.”
When we meet, I am surprised by how lawyers with specialities in other areas of the law, know little about the divorce laws in New York State. In that respect they are very much like any other clients. When I explain to them what their property rights are, what equitable distribution means, the factors that courts use to make determinations on how to divide the assets of the marriage, and how to go about constructing a parenting plan, they quickly grasp the concepts.
Most attorneys are very easy to work with as clients because they have a very analytical way of thinking, and understand that there are limited options. In the past 10 years of working with lawyers, almost every mediation was successful. As a matter of fact, lawyers have been one of my biggest sources of referrals because they were so satisfied with the outcome in mediation, they have recommended friends, other attorneys, and their clients to use mediation when contemplating a separation or divorce.
When you have leaky pipes, call a plumber. When you break the law, call a lawyer. When you are getting divorced, call a mediator – THAT’S WHAT LAWYERS DO!
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