Does a Divorce Mediator Have to Be an Attorney?

In Connecticut, a divorce mediator is not required to be an attorney. They just need to register with the state as a mediator.

I strongly recommend that people seeking divorce mediation work with a mediator who is also a licensed family law attorney. I have seen many instances over the years where a judge did not grant a divorce because a non-lawyer mediator made one of many different types of mistakes including citing the wrong statutes or case law in the divorce agreement and incorrectly calculating child support, alimony, or division of retirement benefits.

Divorce attorneys use specialized software programs that enable them to calculate various types of payments and division of assets. This software requires a lot of training to use properly and many non-attorney mediators do not have this specialized training thus they make incorrect calculations.

When non-attorney mediators make these kinds of mistakes, the judge will refuse to accept the divorce agreement. The parties then have spent more money to hire an attorney to fix it so the judge will accept the divorce agreement.

Particularly problematic are problems made during the divorce with retirement accounts. Mistakes in assigning retirement benefits are often not uncovered until many years after the divorce when one or both parties retire. Changing a divorce decree at this point requires hiring lawyers and litigating to get the decree changed. This problem is not as uncommon as you might think. In fact, there are pension attorneys whose entire practice is to correct erroneous divorce decrees done by people doing their own divorce or mediators who don’t know the law.

Another common mistake is for non-attorney mediators to cite incorrect or out-of-date case law. Family law is a constantly evolving area of law. In fact, in Connecticut divorce law is updated monthly. This means in order to stay on top of changes in the law, a divorce mediator needs to spend significant time 2 – 3 times a year reading up on recent changes in the law. Again, when mistakes in citing statutes or cases are made, the divorcing parties need to spend additional money to hire an attorney to fix the divorce agreement.

So why do people use a divorce mediator who is not an attorney?

The #1 reason why divorcing couples hire a non-attorney mediator is to save money. They think, “We’re divorcing amicably and know who will get what so we’ll save money by not hiring a divorce attorney.” While they might save a few hundred dollars in the short term, using a non-attorney mediator can cost thousands of dollars in the long run; not to mention the unnecessary stress of having to renegotiate the divorce agreement.

At CT Mediation Center, all of our divorce mediators are licensed divorce attorneys with many years of experience writing divorce decrees that are approved the first time and stand the test of time.

Learn More

To learn more about how divorce mediation can help your case, contact any of our Divorce Attorney Mediators or Certified Divorce Financial Analysts at CT Divorce Mediation Centers. Divorce and Family Mediation and Collaborative Law are all we do. We have offices in Madison, New Haven, Cheshire, West Hartford, Glastonbury, West Hartford, and Windsor, CT. To find out more information or to schedule a consultation with our divorce experts, call us at (860) 986-1141.

DISCLAIMER: This publication is not meant to constitute legal, accounting, financial, investment advisory, or other professional advice. If legal, financial, investment advisory, or other professional assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person such as CT Divorce Mediation center, should be sought.