Lawyers are mediating disputes and providing legal advice.

The Role of a Mediation Lawyer: What You Need to Know

By Bob Matteucci

One of the interesting things about being a lawyer is seeing your profession portrayed on the silver screen. Thanks to Hollywood’s fascination with the legal system, everyone out there thinks they know what being a lawyer is like. And they have a lot of preconceived notions about how their case will be handled. 

Tempering the expectations people have thanks to the lawyering they have seen on tv can be a challenge. Particularly in the world of family law — since most of our cases do not involve courtroom showdowns, surprise witnesses, or scores of people in navy-blue suits sitting around a shiny conference table. 

In fact, most family law disputes in the Albuquerque area are resolved amicably. And a growing number of them are done via mediation. Attorney Bob Matteucci of Matteucci Family Law routinely turns to mediation to solve the thorny disputes over child custody, alimony, or property division that arise when couples in New Mexico decide to divorce. 

The work Bob does for clients who choose to mediate their family law dispute is very different from what you see lawyers doing on tv or in movies. Rather than serving as a hard-boiled, hard-charging advocate, he serves as a neutral third party committed to helping the parties find common ground and come up with a solution everyone can agree with. 

Since this type of lawyering isn’t being dramatized (yet!), this blog is here to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what lawyers do during a typical family law mediation. 

What is Mediation? 

Mediation is a professionally facilitated negotiation designed to help the parties in a family law case come to an agreement they can all live with. Rather than having each side hire their own attorney, both parties chip in to hire a mediator to handle their case. 

Everyone involved understands that the goal of the meditation is to find a solution to the problem facing the couple. Because everyone is on the same page about this, mediation is often a faster, less contentious, and more economical way to get divorced or resolve another family law dispute. 

What Does a Lawyer Do When Serving as a Mediator?

As noted above, the parties in a mediation do not typically hire their own attorneys. Instead they hire a mediator, like Attorney Bob Matteucci, to guide them through the process. 

Each side then provides information to Bob about the dispute at hand. They tell Bob their side of the story, identify their key concerns, outline what it would look like if they got everything their heart desired, and hand over any pertinent evidence. 

Bob will thoughtful consider what he has learned about the parties involved and the issues that need to be resolved from his conversations with the parties. He will then have a mediation session where everyone works together to hammer out a divorce settlement, or child custody agreement, or whatever else is needed. Bob guides the conversation and walks the parties through all the issues to be resolved. 

This involves a lot of back-and-forth, and open, honest communication. Both sides must come together to find a solution because the mediator does not have the power to decide what the right course of action is and order the parties to agree to a settlement. 

If there is a complex issue to resolve, like the division of business assets or the long-term care plans for a child with special needs, a mediator who specializes in particular types of cases may be sought out or another professional may be brought in to give their advice. Attorney Matteucci is actually a highly sought after consultant and/or mediator in cases where there are complex business assets that must be divided up. 

The whole process can take a couple hours or a couple weeks depending on how complicated the case is, and how committed everyone is to finding a solution. 

If the mediation is successful, Bob can take his mediator hat off, put his lawyer hat back on, and draft the legal documents necessary to formalize the agreement struck and have it approved by the judge. 

Serving New Mexico Families with Dignity & Compassion 

Mediation may not be the stuff of Hollywood, but it is a popular and efficient way to resolve family law disputes. 

If you are interested in pursuing a mediated divorce, or have another family law case you think would benefit from mediation, Attorney Bob Matteucci is here to help.  Contact the Matteucci Family Law Firm today to schedule a meeting.

About the Author
Bob Matteucci is a board certified family law specialist, with a statewide practice in the area of divorce and family law.