Can our mediator represent either of us an attorney in a divorce proceeding or give us legal advice after the mediation is over?

No. The mediator’s role in a divorce mediation is as a neutral third party who urges spouses to listen to each other’s needs, creatively craft solutions that are mutually beneficial, and compromise in ways that ensure everyone’s future success and well-being. Directly representing either you or your spouse during the mediation would destroy this neutrality. (It might also violate the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct, which impose a duty of loyalty and a duty to avoid conflicts of interest on attorneys.)

The mediator’s inability to legally represent either party extends past the ending of the mediation sessions. Because these sessions are kept confidential in order to facilitate the negotiation process, it would be improper for the mediator – who has inside knowledge of those discussions – to then give you legal advice after the mediation has wrapped up.

In contrast, a mediation coach is an attorney who can assist you during the mediation process by offering coaching as you work with the mediator. Your mediation coach can represent you in divorce litigation if the mediation process breaks down.