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Mediation clients often say that they have come to mediation to avoid having to use lawyers, who they fear will make relations with the other party worse and will involve high fees.

A sensible use of lawyers in the mediation process can in fact help the mediation to succeed. This usually involves consulting lawyers on particular questions rather than employing them to do everything. That way the mediation client retains control and is able to clarify matters that need to be discussed in the mediation meetings. Lawyers can give useful general advice on how courts approach matters such as issues concerning finances and arrangements for children. They can also provide advice on complicated matters such as options when discussing pensions.

Lawyers are useful at the final stage of the mediation process , when a set of draft proposals have been agreed, to give advice on those terms. Until there is a court order any proposals reached in mediation are not legally binding. This encourages mediation clients to be more relaxed about discussing and disclosing matters which gives both parties more options and a better chance of finding solutions acceptable to both of them.

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