Wisconsin Divorce Mediation Just Got Better
Wisconsin law changed recently (July 1, 2017) to authorize attorney mediators to provide divorcing spouses with full-service mediation. Attorney mediators are now empowered by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin to draft all the documents necessary to complete a divorce.
Why this change is important:
Previously, attorney mediators could not draft legal documents for filing with the court. Divorcing spouses who reached agreements with an attorney mediator had to draft their own divorce documents. Online divorce forms are available, but most of my clients find the forms confusing, nonsensical, and frustrating.
Divorce is not a one size fits all, multiple-choice, check the right box, process. Divorce is a complex legal proceeding. Divorce issues are closer to my clients’ hearts and pocket books than any other legal action most will face in their entire lives. All divorcing spouses deserve a legal process that fits their circumstances.
Poorly drafted divorce documents can lead to post Judgment issues. Professional drafting is a wise investment. Previously, divorcing spouses had no choice but to “write up” the agreement without legal assistance or hire a lawyer other than the mediator to draft the necessary legal documents. That is no longer the case. Now, the professional with the most complete understanding of the mediated agreement is authorized to draft the necessary legal documents.
The new rule in no way interferes with a client’s right to have independent legal representation in mediation.
Divorce mediation and collaborative divorce are evolving in the right direction. I fully support the expansion of client-driven, alternative dispute resolution options.