Mediation Coaching is a form of legal representation in which an individual who is participating in divorce mediation hires an attorney to assist the individual during the mediation process. Also known as Mediation Consulting, the coaching process includes assisting the individual in preparing for mediation sessions, reviewing mediation goals and strategies, reviewing financial documents and reviewing settlement proposals to ensure the individual’s rights are protected. Unlike a mediator, who is acting as a neutral third party, an attorney acting as a Mediator Coach is loyal only to his or her client, and is focused on protecting the client’s interests in the mediation. A mediation coaches duties generally include:
- Reviewing proposed divorce agreements and family law agreements prior to acceptance by client
- Providing review and analysis of financial documents and financial issues to client throughout mediation
- Developing negotiation tactics and strategies for clients to use in mediation sessions
- Assisting with preparation and feedback before and after each mediation session
In most instances, an attorney serving as a Mediation Coach acts behind the scenes, and does not directly participate in the mediation process. On occasion, if both parties are being advised by separate attorneys, a mediator will invite Mediation Coaches to participate in the mediation process or encourage the attorneys to directly negotiate with one another to resolve a specific issue. When selecting a Mediation Coach, it is important to select a mediation-friendly attorney. In general, it is Mediation Coach’s job to provide services within the context of a successful mediation, and to engage in best practices to avoid disrupting or undermining the mediation through his or her involvement.
As the home of South Shore Divorce Mediation, the attorneys of Lynch & Owens understand the mediation process. We know that the last thing a divorce mediator wants is for a spouse to retain an outside attorney who is hostile or uninformed about the mediation process. Because our attorneys serve as divorce mediators themselves, we understand how to coach, advise and consult with mediation-involved clients without disrupting or undermining the mediation process.
Our goal is to empower our mediation coaching clients to succeed in their mediation. It is never our goal to disrupt or discourage the mediation process. Instead, we assist our client to work within the mediation while helping the client to articulate his or her goals and protect his or her interests. On those rare occasions when a divorce mediation breaks down, our attorneys are in a position to advise clients of their divorce and family law options, but in the vast majority of cases, our Mediation Coaching clients complete the mediation successfully.
Our initial retainer for Mediation Coaching/Consulting is $2,000. How that money is spent – or if it is spent at all – is up to the individual client. Some individuals who are engaged in divorce or family law mediation only use the Mediation Coach to review major proposals, such as a final Mediated Divorce Agreement. Other clients prefer a more hands-on approach, speaking with the Mediation Coach before and after mediation sessions, or asking the Mediation Coach to take an active role in preparing language for a mediated agreement.
The beauty of Divorce Mediation Coaching is that the client controls the pace and frequency of the attorney’s workload. One client might conserve funds by asking the Mediation Coach to take a hands-off approach, while other clients treat the Mediation Coach as an investment in a stronger final agreement. Either way, our Mediation Coaches are responsive to the client, not the other way around.
Our divorce attorneys are mediators. Our divorce mediators are attorneys. Our experience on both sides of the mediation table helps us coach clients to anticipate what will occur mediation process, and how to react in a manner that advances the client’s interests. For us, mediation coaching is really a two-part process:
- Provide the client with behavioral coaching that focuses on helping the client understand the mediation process, the mediator’s role, and best practices for negotiating, advocating for oneself and reacting to the words and actions of the other spouse.
- Provide the client with specific legal advice regarding the issues addressed in mediation, including child custody, child support and alimony, the division of marital assets and other family law issues being addressed.
We recognize that Mediation Coaching clients must ultimately advocate for themselves within a mediation, and part of our jobs as coaches is to identify the skills and limitations of the client, so we can customize a strategy that best fits the needs of the individual client. Through role-playing and skill-building, we help clients develop the skillset needed for a successful mediation. At the same time, we help clients achieve better long-term outcomes by analyzing their legal position and determining what constitutes a fair and equitable agreement under the facts of their case.
If you are seeking a Massachusetts Mediation Coach please give us a call at (781) 741-5000. An attorney from our office will consult with you and evaluate your potential claim at no charge after you call to schedule a free consultation.
Jason V. Owens, Partner and Senior Counsel
Jason is a Partner and Senior Attorney at Lynch & Owens whose areas of concentration include divorce, child custody and support, domestic violence, equity and estates litigation, and complex financial probate and family litigation.
Nicole K. Levy, Senior Associate Attorney
Nicole K. Levy is a Massachusetts divorce lawyer and family law attorney whose areas of concentration include divorce, child custody and support, alimony, asset division, domestic violence, complex financial litigation and Department of Children and Families matters.
Kimberley Keyes, Senior Associate Attorney
Kimberley Keyes is a Massachusetts divorce lawyer, family law attorney and divorce mediator whose areas of concentration include divorce, child custody and support, alimony, asset division, domestic violence and complex financial litigation.
Carmela M. Miraglia, Senior Associate Attorney
Carmela M. Miraglia is a Massachusetts divorce lawyer, family law attorney and divorce mediator whose areas of concentration include divorce, child custody and support, alimony, asset division, domestic violence, and complex probate and civil litigation.
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