How is a mediator different from a lawyer?

Many people want to know how a mediator is different than a lawyer. that’s not a better question. If you want to meet either a divorce in Illinois, then you should understand the different roles before you start mediation.

Legal advice

Mediators do not give legal advice.

It’s true that divorce mediators should be lawyers, because divorce lawyers make the best divorce mediators. still, even if a divorce mediator is also a divorce lawyer, that mediator does not give legal advice.

Mediators are neutral

Mediators are neutral. That means they don’t take sides. This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that a mediator does not give legal advice.

Inherent in legal advice is taking the side of the person to whom the advice is directed.

Even when a mediator is also a divorce lawyer, the mediator does not give legal advice because he or she is acting as a neutral.

The person acting as a lawyer takes a side. A person acting as a neutral does not take sides.

Since mediators are neutrals, they do not give legal advice, even if they are lawyers.

Mediators don’t draft legal documents

Mediators do not draft legal documents. Actually, it would be better to say that mediators should not draft legal documents. Let me explain.

First of all, a mediator who is not a lawyer is not even qualified to draft a legal document. unfortunately, there are mediators in Chicago that claim they will draft every document you need for your divorce. One major perpetrator is not a lawyer, and really, he is more of a scam artist.

Furthermore, even when a mediator is also a divorce lawyer, that mediator should not draft legal documents.

Both parties in mediation should want an equitable mediation – that is a mediation that is fair for both. But that doesn’t happen when the mediators drafts documents that are entered in court.

Drafting a legal document involves a large amount of discretion. For example, when a lawyer drafts a document, they often draft that document to benefit their client. When drafting a legal document, there are usually several options of how to write any particular cause. How should the drafter of a legal document choose which way to write it?

And beware – there are some mediators who are not lawyers who claim they will draft all the documents you need for your case – even settlement agreements with legally-binding terms. Watch out!

This conundrum explains why meat eaters should not draft legal documents.

What a mediator drafts is often called a memorandum of understanding, or MOU.

An MOU is a stripped down agreement between the parties that hits all the main points.

An MOU can form the basis of settlement agreements that are used in a divorce. Those agreements are as follows:

  1. Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA): This agreement handles all the financial aspects of divorce. For example, how to divide assets and debts, child support, spousal maintenance, etc.
  2. Judgment for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities: This handles all the child-related matters, such as where the kids will live, who makes decisions, and other related matters.

About the author: David Wolkowitz is an Illinois Divorce mediator and a family law attorney. He mediates divorce, child custody, and child visitation disputes to help spouses and parents reach agreement without litigation.