Can My Divorce Mediation Attorney Represent Me in the Future?
When someone is a mediator for spouses getting a divorce, they cannot later represent either spouse and that can also happen in the reverse. Sometimes, we will be representing somebody and they’ll say “Oh, my spouse has seen the light. They want to go to mediation. Can you do the mediation now?” The answer to that really is no because that’s a conflict of interest. You have represented this one spouse and so you can’t then say I’m representing both spouses. It is a conflict ethically but it’s also a conflict as a practical manner because in my view, the spouse that was not your initial client is always going to feel like your siding with the other spouse and that’s something you don’t want to happen during the mediation.
During mediation, I make my best efforts to make sure that both spouses are heard, that they feel like they’re heard, that they feel like there’s no bias and that they are treated in an even-handed manner and to that end, for my mediation participants, a general rule that I use is that if either party is going to communicate with me, they need to do that in the presence of the other spouse whether that be physically, on the phone, or by e-mail. So if it were email, they would copy the other so with my response. If it were by phone, we’ll set up a telephone conference where both could be participants and obviously if it’s in person, they would both be in the same office with me. There are rare occasions where I feel like it’s necessary to speak with one of the spouses individually and I would do that, I’ll ask the other spouse if they’re okay with that. Have them step out for a moment and come back in and that’s only if I feel that I can remove a road block that might exist by them being present in a room together but again, a general way that I like to handle a mediation is that both participants participate all of the time.
This informational blog post was provided by Cynthia Hanley, an experienced Massachusetts Divorce Lawyer.