LEO: Divorce Mediation/Domestic  LE Op. 513


Divorce Mediation/Domestic Relations/Family Law.


April 28, 1983


Concerning the role of an attorney who is involved in the divorce

mediation process, the attorney involved in the mediation process would

represent the couple and not the divorce mediation process. However, in

many cases, it would be improper for an attorney to attempt to render

legal advice to both parties since often it would be virtually impossible

to give such advice in a completely non-partisan way.


However, where an attorney has undertaken to provide "legal information"

only, as opposed to "legal advice," the parties understand the distinction

between "legal information" and "legal advice" and have given their

informed consent for an attorney so to act, it may be appropriate in

certain circumstances for an attorney to provide legal information to both

parties, particularly, in uncomplicated and straightforward situations

where the parties are contemplating getting a non-contested divorce and

the marriage has been of short duration with little assets and no children

involved. Regardless of the situation, however, attorneys should be

advised to use great caution before agreeing to provide legal information

or advice to both parties, and should attorneys agree to do so, they

should be extremely careful to be as non-partisan as possible.


It would be ethically impermissible for an attorney to give legal advice

to the therapist who, in turn, would pass it on to the clients in the

mediation process since the attorney by doing so would be aiding the

therapist in the unauthorized practice of law in violation of the

provisions of DR:3-101. [DR:3-101, Virginia Code of Professional



Committee Opinion April 28, 1983




See also LE Op. 1368.