Getting a divorce is an emotionally demanding process for couples and their families, especially if it is contested. An effective alternative to the long-drawn court process and the emotional stress it brings is divorce mediation. The process of mediation is significantly less stressful and cost-effective compared to a litigated divorce.
With the help of a mediator, you can work out your legal separation through an amicable discussion. As the mediator is a neutral third party, it is advisable to have an experienced St. Louis divorce mediation attorney by your side during your mediation. The attorney will help you to understand the legal aspects of your mediation process and make sure you get a fair divorce settlement. However, you need to find the right mediation attorney.
Here are a few tips that will help you find the right mediation lawyer.
1. Choose Someone You Feel Comfortable with
Your comfort matters the most because you will be sharing confidential and intimate details with an experienced St. Louis divorce mediation attorney. The lawyer should be supportive and someone you feel comfortable talking to. Also, you should get along with your attorney and believe that he or she has your best interest at heart.
So, how do you find out if you are comfortable with a divorce mediation lawyer? The easiest way is to set up an initial interview. Most attorneys will offer a free initial consultation to hear your case. This is a great opportunity to see if the person you are talking to can put you at ease, pay complete attention to you, respect your opinion, and be supportive during mediation.
2. Find out How Accessible the Attorney Is
Another crucial factor to look for is accessibility. You should be able to get in touch with your lawyer easily and quickly. Most divorce mediation lawyers work on multiple cases, requiring them to prioritize their work.
During your initial consultation, make sure to ask the lawyer about their current caseload. If you feel they are too busy, you may search for an alternative. You can still work with a busy but qualified attorney.
Decide on how you will communicate with the lawyer, how often you will need to meet in-person, and how your case will be handled (Will the attorney do it themselves or ask one of their juniors to handle it?).
Make sure to clear all your doubts before taking the next step. If your divorce mediation is complicated, you may want to work with someone who can pay more attention to your case.
3. Check Client Testimonials
While an interview will tell you how comfortable you are with a mediation attorney, checking out the client testimonials and feedback will tell you how dedicated and qualified they are. A successful and experienced St. Louis divorce mediation attorney should have several favorable testimonies and references to share with you.
You can ask the lawyer to share the references. A good lawyer will be more than willing to share a list of former clients with you. Alternatively, you can also check out lawyer review websites like Avvo and Lawyers to find out more about the lawyer in question.
Calling your state’s bar association to see if there are any grievances filed against the lawyer can also help you make a better decision. However, just because one person had a bad experience, doesn’t necessarily mean you will go through the same. You should consider these views, whether good or bad, with a grain of salt.
4. Know-How Much the Attorney Will Cost
Finally, you need to know about attorney fees and associated costs. While most divorce mediation lawyers will offer a free initial consultation, you will have to pay for subsequent consultations and billables on an hourly basis.
The attorney fees may vary greatly depending on a variety of factors, including location, work experience, and qualifications. Some lawyers may also work on a retainer that covers most of your legal expenses. You should ask for all the details during your initial consultation, and get a ballpark figure.
Once you have a rough estimate of how much the lawyer’s service will cost, you can decide if it fits in your budget. If you are in a delicate financial situation, some lawyers may lower their rates or consider your case for pro-bono work. Make sure to discuss this well in advance with the lawyer.
Even though you are going for an amicable divorce through mediation, having an experienced lawyer on your side is necessary. Choosing the right divorce mediation attorney can go a long way in ensuring a fair and acceptable divorce settlement. Thankfully, the process of selecting a suitable divorce mediation lawyer doesn’t have to be a difficult task. These four tips should prove helpful.