From mediator to advocate

I’ve been a certified mediator for less than a year but continually encounter unrepresented parties who want me to mediate their separation, custody or support issues and then assist them in getting court approval of their agreement.  Given the huge ethical concerns I have over switching from the third-party neutral role to an advocate role, I won’t do it.  I just posted a “Frequently Asked Question,”  How Does One Turn a Domestic Agreement into a Binding Court Order?, where I explain these ethical concerns.

Are there any attorneys out there willing to shift from mediator to attorney in order to obtain court approval of the agreements they mediated?  If so, how are you handling these ethical issues?

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  • Liz Stringer

    Hey Greg,

    I do not mediate a case and then act as one of the party’s attorneys. I do refer my mediated cases to a few attorneys to help the parties get it approved (hopefully quickly and cheaply!). I have drafted an Agreement for one party (acting as their attorney ONLY) and then proceeded to get that Agreement approved. I do not believe there are any ethical concerns there so long as you do not advise the pro se litigant. Liz

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