The Difference Between a Mediator and an Attorney


The legal system can be incredibly confusing and complicated. Many different legal professionals may help you with your dispute. You may hire an attorney, a mediator, or even use an arbitrator. To make things even more complex, lawyers or judges are often also mediators, which can make establishing the difference between a mediator and an attorney difficult. So what exactly is the difference between a mediator and an attorney? Here are a few key differences that you should know.

Mediators Help Create Solutions for Both Parties

An attorney is your legal representative. They are ethically bound to represent your best interests and only yours. Their job is to make sure that you get the best deal possible, and they do not take into consideration the other party’s interests or satisfaction with the solution.

A mediator does not owe you or the other party any type of duty. Rather, a mediator is there to assist you and the other party into coming together and creating a mutually beneficial solution. They work with each party (not against one or the other) to create an agreement that can foster a better long-term relationship. Mediators take the big picture into account, including family relationships and dynamics, long-term functionality of the agreement, and stress on each party.

Mediation Is More Affordable

Typically in a dispute, each side will have an attorney. Each party pays their attorney separately. Depending on the conflict, the payment will be hourly. Court costs and fees can also be incredibly expensive. If your conflict goes to trial, you will be required to pay for witness statements, court reporters, and other expenses.

Mediators are also paid hourly, but there is one cost rather than two. Some mediators offer flat-fee packages for typical disputes like divorce or child custody. Because mediators are specially trained to minimize conflict and promote agreement, conflicts don’t require as much time to resolve. While you still may have some court filing fees, you don’t have to concern yourself with added excessive costs associated with in-court conflict.

If you would like to know more about the difference a mediator can make in your case, contact us at San Diego Family Mediation Center. Call (858) 756-2411 today to schedule your consultation.

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