Question #18: I am considering a legal separation. I have two young children and do not want to return to work full-time. I would like the process to be fair to me since I have I will be raising these children and supporting the house. I also do not want to endure courtroom battles. My husband will be cooperative. Will using a mediator provide me with the financial support to go it alone? Would I benefit financially from using my own lawyer? How do I know that I am getting the best I can for myself using a mediator?

I cannot over emphasize the benefit of using an attorney-mediator experienced in the field of mediation instead of entering into the abyss of the adversarial system. Through mediation you and your spouse will be able to arrive at a reasonable understanding which will provide you with the financial support you need in order to carry on with your life. Introducing a lawyer to represent your interests will force your spouse to do the same which will create an adversarial atmosphere and interfere with your ability to resolve the matters by your selves. An experienced mediator who is familiar with the legal requirements will provide you and your spouse with the necessary information you need to proceed. After the settlement has been agreed upon, then you should have an attorney review it to make sure that you understand its meaning and that it was prepared properly, but the attorney should not be asked to introduce additional substantive issues unless you request that as well.
Please understand that mediation does not provide you with the most money you may be able to receive in an adversarial setting; mediation strives to satisfy the needs of both parties rather than the “wants” of the parties. If the “best I can” means money, then mediation can not guarantee that you will get the most. If it means getting on with your life, being able to relate to your spouse long after the divorce papers are filed, reducing the trauma and strain on you and your children, then mediation will certainly provide you with “the best you can” get.
Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./ Divorce Solutions