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Legal Considerations for Mental Health Professional Mediators (From Divorce and Family Mediation, P 108-117, 1985, James C Hansen, ed. - See NCJ-100688)

NCJ Number
C G Crockett
Date Published
10 pages
To avoid allegations of unauthorized law practice, divorce mediators who are mental health professionals may recommend that the parties obtain independent legal counsel, provide only legal information not constituting the unauthorized practice of law, recommend that the couple see an independent expert, use structured mediation, and comediate with an attorney.
Mediators should advise parties to seek independent legal counsel if either party's legal rights may be affected, before all issues are resolved, and when a legal agreement is to be formalized. Types of legal information a mediator may provide without liability for the unauthorized practice of law pertain to court system workings, statutory grounds for divorce, and any other definition provided by statute. Experts such as accountants, tax attorneys, actuaries, and financial planners can provide specialized services to assist in resolving mediation issues. Structured mediation, which is based on specific rules and guidelines for mediating divorce issues, can prevent mental health professional mediators from departing from mediation services into the unauthorized practice of law. Using an attorney comediator permits all legal issues to be referred to this comediator. 6 references.


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