Need Advice on Out of Control Legal Fees & Mediation

Without going into all the details, I have spent $ 12,000 on legal fees alone, not to mention repeated travel costs to the eastern part of the state as I go through my first divorce. For months my attorney and hers have had unproductive negotiations etc. I feel Ike im no further along now than I was when we began. So, I’ve insisted on a trial to establish the separation date which is years old, and a jury trial, because the opposing side wants to continue claiming faults. The thought of a jury trial seems to have scared attorneys on both sides of this to death, and my attorney tried hard to talk me out of it ( when it was original his idea). Now I’ve learned that my attorney, without my knowledge, has agreed to mediation. So my questions are;

  1. My attorney says both her attorney and mine are required by NC law to be present at the mediation sessions ? Is this true ? I don’t see how I could be saving money if I have to pay my attorney to be there, an arbitrator, and of course her attorney thinks I will pay for him to be there as well.

  2. Does it make sense to go to mediation if we can’t agree on one of the biggest disagreements - our separation date.

  3. These proceedings are taking place in the eastern part of NC, in a rural location, where there’s difinitely an " ol boys network" with the attorneys. This makes me extremely uncomfortable. Does anyone have thoughts on how best to handle this ? costs are an issue for me. Having to pay an attorney to travel 300 miles for the sessions seems cost prohibitive.

Thanks for any advice !

*not an attorney

Mediation is required. It is a mechanism the court uses to get the parties to settle the case so the court doesn’t have to make a decision for them. It is better for the parties to agree on a settlement than have a third party decide it for them, plus it saves the court the time of the trail.

Most people would hire an attorney that is local to where the case is being heard.

Mediation is only required for certain areas of divorce law. You will have to attend mediation prior to litigating an Equitable Distribution case, and there is mandatory custody mediation prior to litigating a child custody case. If you are unhappy with your representation, you can certainly represent yourself or seek new representation.