Everyone in Denver knows that an attorney should only work for one client. To do otherwise would be a conflict of interest. It's difficult to achieve a fair result with which everyone is happy when you are working for parties with opposing interests. So how does this work with divorce mediation, when a mediator - often an attorney - works with both parties?
First, in divorce mediation, each party is entitled to independent counsel. While this may chip away at one of the chief advantages of divorce mediation - its smaller price tag compared to traditional divorce - it can be helpful to have an experienced family law professional on hand to help answer questions and provide divorce.
Second, always remember that an attorney works for the client and not the other way around. This means you should not be shy about expressing your goals and opinions. Your attorney may provide some information you were not aware of in the hopes of showing you why your desired course of action may not be the best plan, but ultimately you tell the lawyer what to do (except in limited circumstances involving crime and fraud, of course).
If you do choose to separate from your spouse and opt for divorce mediation, find out as much as you can about the mediator. What are his or her qualifications? How is he or she being compensated? Naturally, mediators know they have to be fair and impartial, but doing some homework on your own is always a good idea. Lastly, remember the mediator is not your attorney. His or her goal is to reach a result you and your spouse both agree with - he or she does not solely represent either you or your spouse.
In the end, you should only do what you're comfortable with. Many couples are embracing divorce mediation as an easier, more civil way to separate. After looking into it, you might find you agree with them.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Attorney and Client: Who Works for Whom?" Henry Gornbein, Aug. 4, 2011.