Do You Need a Review Attorney or a Divorce Mediator?

Interpreting Vague Terms There's no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to New York divorce.

As a divorce mediator and attorney for New York and Long Island, Darren Shapiro decided to give his clients as many options as possible when it came to decide how to address their divorce or separation. As well as traditional litigation, clients can also choose from mediation, or collaborative law to discuss and manage issues all the way from equitable distribution, child custody, parenting time to child support and maintenance. Sometimes, Attorney Shapiro's clients call him with the hope of using him as both a review attorney and a mediator. However, it's a good idea not to combine these two functions. After all, a mediator is supposed to be a completely objective individual in the divorce process. If that mediator is working as a review attorney for a client at the same time that they're mediating, then it's hard to preserve neutral ground.

In most cases, mediation works best when two spouses can meet in a neutral environment and talk about their concerns with an objective third-party present. If attorney Shapiro meets with one of the clients in a case before the mediation takes place, then this can lead to questions from the other party, who may assume that he and the other spouse discussed things "behind their back". Generally, private conversations are dangerous in mediation, because they set the foundations for suspicion among parties. It may be appropriate, however, to mediate by caucus at times. Though there are cases when Attorney Shapiro may be able to have a very brief conversation with a client before mediation begins, he would not provide any legal advice until that person confirmed that they wanted to use Attorney Shapiro as their lawyer and not a divorce mediator.

In circumstances where Attorney Shapiro might briefly speak to a client who then decides to use his services as a mediator, it's usually a good idea to host a session between both clients where anything discussed before mediation began can be brought to light. This interactive moment can clear the air in time for the mediation process, ensuring that everyone starts with full disclosure. However, in an ideal situation, Attorney Shapiro will always recommend that spouses with an interest in mediation come to him to discuss their options together.

Review Attorneys and Mediators Must be Separate Entities

In the majority of cases, a review attorney and mediator will be two separate entities in a divorce case, because they each have different roles to play in the process. For instance, the role of a mediator is to support both spouses during the divorce and help them to reach a decision that they can both "live with" by the end of the discussion. Of course, there are times when a spouse may feel that they need extra support from a divorce attorney before mediation, and in this case, Attorney Shapiro will typically recommend that they seek help from a review attorney. The only rule that Mr Shapiro puts in place is that he cannot be the mediator and review attorney for a single client. If Attorney Shapiro starts working as an attorney for a client, he will not also take on a role as that person's mediator, but he may help them to find a mediation professional they feel comfortable with.

To reduce the risk of confusion as much as possible, Attorney Shapiro will often follow a careful process during initial consultations with a couple. If Attorney Shapiro speaks to a couple as their divorce mediator, then he will endeavor not to switch role and become the "lawyer" for one side or the other. Attorney Shapiro follows these rules because he believes that people in a mediation procedure need as much trust as possible to go through with this negotiation-focused form of alternative dispute resolution. People want to know that their mediator won't end up being their enemy in any future attorney entanglements.

When Attorney Shapiro takes on the role of mediator for his clients, his goal is to be a neutral and supportive force for those two spouses, working together with each party to help them make the best possible decisions according to their interests. As a mediator, Attorney Shapiro will not be there to provide legal support to either person in the case. Instead, he will direct his clients to their review attorneys when they need additional guidance from a legal perspective. On the other hand, if Attorney Shapiro is working as a litigator for a client, then he will help to prepare those clients for mediation procedures and answer any legal questions they might have throughout the divorce case. It is also possible for review attorneys to complete and submit the divorce packages that are sent to the courts after decisions are made in mediation.

Do You Need Help with Your Divorce?

Attorney Shapiro prides himself on offering a variety of solutions to people who need assistance during the divorce process. By allowing people to choose freely between litigation and alternative options for dispute resolution, attorney Shapiro believes that he can help people throughout New York to reduce the stress and discomfort that's often associated with the divorce procedure. However, although Attorney Shapiro offers different options for his clients, he's careful to ensure that his roles don't overlap and cause confusion throughout the divorce case.

To discuss using Darren Shapiro as either your divorce mediator or review attorney, reach out to his office today through our contact form or calling (516) 333-6555.

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