If you are going through divorce, you should have a lawyer. Divorce is one of life’s traumatic moments, and it is smart to have a steady hand to advise you during uncertain times.
However, you don’t need to have a lawyer to get divorced.
You have the option of going through pro se mediation (mediation without legal representation).
During pro se mediation, you and your spouse meet together face-to-face with a neutral mediator. The mediator cannot force you to reach an agreement; rather, the mediator is there to facilitate an agreement between the spouses on a parenting plan, division of assets and debts, financial support, and other matters.
Pro se mediation is private and privileged, and so what is said during mediation cannot be used against a spouse later in court. Pro se mediation is centered around self-determination, so the spouses can reach an agreement that is best for their family rather than be bound by strict interpretation of divorce rules and case law.
Pro se mediation is also one of the least expensive divorce options, so more money can go to your children’s college funds rather than divorce expenses.
Please note that a mediator cannot provide legal advice, even if he or she has a law degree. Accordingly, once again, it is strongly encouraged that you retain a divorce lawyer, especially one with collaborative training.
That being said, for those who choose not to have lawyers, you have the option of divorce mediation without representation.
Adam B. Cordover is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator. Adam trains attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals in private forms of dispute resolution, and he has been invited as a guest speaker throughout Florida and internationally on out-of-court divorce.