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1. Lawyer Ethics impose total responsibility on the lawyer for your court case. Even if suit has not been filed, most lawyers will feel that same responsibility once you hire them. Thus, when you choose to stay in control of your case using the mediation process, many lawyers will not feel fully informed or comfortable giving advice. You should ask to be given advice when you need it, not just when you ask for it, because until suit is filed and your lawyer is your “Counsel of Record” in the case, she doesn’t have an ethical obligation to give you advice beyond what you clearly ask for. To put it another way, your lawyer doesn’t have to answer a question you didn’t know to ask!

2. Insert my ethics on a mutual “mediation waiver” for giving advise that might be deemed trying to by-pass the opposing counsel.

3. Insert most divorce lawyers preference for retired judge “Judicial Mediation” and why: avoids having to give settlement advise and recommendation, blame it on the judge, gets the lawyer ready for trial with expensive discovery that can be used against you, trial dates are often over a year after suit is filed, so the Judicial Mediation usually doesn’t occur for well over 6 months from your initial consultation, whereas mediation often starts within 2 weeks of your first phone call to the mediator and ends within 3 months (you control the pace of mediation)

4. During your initial consultation with a lawyer be sure to explain the role you want her to play and make sure the engagement letter (contract for legal services) describes your expectation and nothing more. Examples include:
a. to advise you upon your request.
b. to advise you upon your request and to email you with concerns that come to them based on a prior consultation or something you have sent them (phone message, text or email.
c. Read my emails and respond.
d. Keep up to date on my case as I send you updates on mediation progress.
e. Keep up to date on my case with a chronological log that I may review.
f. Make clear to me what data and records of mine or my spouse that should be included in the voluntary “discovery” that I and my spouse provide to the financial planner.
g. Review my Family Law Software Budget and Marital Property Reports made by the mediator and/or financial planner and give me financial advice regarding SS and ED based on the facts of my case, the applicable law, and the FLS Reports.
h. Help me make sure the FLS Reports are accurate
i. Have the financial planner prepare at least one or more hypothetical reports giving me and the mediator the range (high and low) of how you think the judge would rule.

5. The name Counseled Mediation® refers to our willingness and experience of how to keep your lawyer involved as your available but not present counselor during the weeks of the mediation process. If you or a child is in mental health counseling we recommend you keep them informed as well.

The foregoing provides educational information and does not provide legal advice. It was not prepared for you either generally or in connection with any specific issue or case. The mediator does not give legal advice. You are responsible for obtaining legal advice from your own lawyer.