What is important about legal advice?
Our mediators have knowledge of family law and will share information with both of you so that you are not making decisions without understanding how things would typically work. However, they cannot give you legal advice, or tell you what you “should” do. If you need assistance finding a lawyer to give you advice please let us know.
Some clients receive advice before the mediation, some during and some after an agreement has been reached. This is up to you. Whether you decide to get advice or not is up to you and you can discuss this with your mediator.
Mediators are neutral and impartial, so even mediators who are lawyers cannot offer legal advice to you. Some legal information can be provided but it is important for each party in a mediation to have access to an independent lawyer to learn how the law affects them and to help them evaluate the choices they will be making in mediation.
When the mediation is over, the mediator will report the points agreed upon in a Mediation Report and you may want to review this with a lawyer as well, so that they can help you turn it into a formal Separation Agreement or Minutes of Settlement. Other people just follow their report without taking that step. Again, your mediator can discuss this with you during your session.
Some lawyers offer a free initial consultation. You may also qualify for legal aid advice. There is a service where lawyers offer unbundling services. For more information on Legal Aid Services, download our Information Memo.For more information about your ability to obtain legal advice, contact our Information Coordinator or your local Legal Aid Office, or see the yellow pages to seek a family law lawyer near you.
Financial and Tax Advice
It is important to be aware that we cannot provide tax or financial advice. Our mediators may ask you to consider checking in with your accountant or other financial experts. It is a good idea to talk with any financial planner or accountant you have if you have questions about how matters will affect your taxes.
Finding a Lawyer
Please contact us if you need a referral to a lawyer who will prepare your settlement documents or give you legal advice.
Some lawyers have indicated their willingness to offer “unbundled” services. This means they will help you with part of your case, or give you advice, or help you prepare any necessary documents to complete your settlement for a set fee.
Bridging Family Conflict is not endorsing any particular lawyer but there are some lawyers that have indicated they will provide these types of services and you can contact any of them to ask for a fee for specific assistance.