Congratulations for wanting to resolve your divorce in a peaceful manner. Mediation is the best way to handle your divorce. However, if Kelly is your mediator, she cannot give you individual legal advice. Your mediator, though they may be A lawyer, is not YOUR lawyer. They do not represent you, in court or otherwise.
If you want legal advice while your mediation with another mediator is pending, Kelly can serve as your consulting attorney, or representative attorney. But Kelly cannot be both your attorney and the mediator.
For me to serve as your mediator, BOTH of you must agree to hire her as your mediator. Kelly is a neutral and she cannot give either of you individual advice. In our experience, mediations often fail because one party perceives that there is a mediator bias for one party.
To avoid this, we strictly adhere to 3 office policies to maintain our neutrality:
a. The Mediation Orientation is the first contact Kelly has with both parties. Any previous contact with our office is with staff regarding protocol or pricing. It is important for both parties to understand Kelly’s capacity as a mediator, and trust that she did not previously give legal advice to either party, or favor one party over the other.
b. Both parties must attend the initial Mediation Orientation. In order for mediation work, the parties must choose this option. If Kelly gives legal advice to one side, she is automatically conflicted out from representing the other side; as well as mediator. If only one party attends, the orientation becomes a legal consultation, which costs $500.
c. Kelly does not communicate with either party in between sessions. There are no secret phone calls or emails. Both parties are copied on all emails. Calls to the office are answered by staff regarding procedure, pricing or scheduling.