If you raise this concern at the outset with your mediator, he/she will help you explore options to create a “level playing field” and address any financial power imbalances, so you can participate effectively in this process.
First of all, you and your husband can retain a neutral financial professional to address financial issues and educate you regarding your finances such as the value of your business, your monthly expenses or income available for support. This financial professional will be part of your mediation process and will work on behalf of both you and your husband so that you will have the opportunity to ask questions and get the help you need to feel confident and comfortable in making decisions. Second, you can retain a consulting attorney to help you throughout the process.
It will be up to you and your husband whether the consulting attorneys attend mediation sessions or advise you in separate sessions – helping to prepare you for mediation sessions and “de briefing” afterwards. Or the consulting attorney might be asked to attend only certain session or sessions in which difficult financial decisions will be addressed. The consulting attorney will also review your final agreement before your “sign off”.
Judith C. Nesburn is a Family Law attorney, Mediator and Collaborative Law practitioner, practicing in Los Angeles. Her focus is on alternative means of dispute resolution in all divorce and family law matters. She can be reached at (310) 207-4400. Visit her website www.judithcnesburn.com.