Can a lawyer hired by one spouse then become the mediator?

Additional Information:

Is it possible for the lawyer I hired in Marblehead to handle our divorce, to then become the lawyer to handle our mediated divorce?

ANSWER:

A mediator is bound by ethical considerations to have not had a prior relationship with one party to the mediation. Any mediator who is a member of the Massachusetts Council of Family Mediation would have had to sign Standards which specifically prohibit a mediator from mediating when there has been previous professional relationship with one party as this would create an “actual or potential conflict of interest”.  A prior relationship might mean that the mediator would have difficulty maintaining neutrality and impartiality towards both parties. So clearly a lawyer that had originally represented one spouse would not meet this standard of no prior relationship. There are some cases where there had been a prior relationship, but it had been so long ago or of a very cursory nature, that the other party could release the mediator to mediate in that situation.