Top Five Considerations for Choosing a Divorce/Family Mediator
Choosing a divorce mediator is the first agreement divorcing spouses make together at the beginning of the divorce mediation process. It will be one of the most important decisions spouses reach during their divorce.
There are many factors to think about when choosing the right family mediator, but here are the five most essential considerations to make:
The most crucial part of choosing a divorce mediator is trust. Emotions can run high, especially if children are involved. Upon meeting your potential mediator for the first time, did you feel their sincerity to help or were you treated like a case no different from the others? Were they encouraging? Did you feel comfortable around them? At the end of the day, you should be able to trust your mediator before the process begins.
Make sure the mediator’s field of expertise is divorce and family mediation.
An good mediator builds skills from focused experience, especially considering that mediation demands an extraordinary skill set and a highly particular knowledge base. Ask your potential mediator how much of their practice is dedicated to divorce and family mediation. Ideally, you’ll want this to be 100%, but at least 80% should be fine.
Dispute Resolution and Mediation Expertise
Make sure your mediator has a considerable dispute resolution education as well as ongoing training in mediation. This is a crucial consideration as it reflects the mediator’s degree of commitment to their profession. Aside from being certified, they should have a background in human behavior, psychology and child development. Legal background is definitely a huge help. In fact, you will have much better chances of reaching a favorable outcome if you hire no less than a lawyer who specializes in family mediation.
One of the best signs of an effective family mediator is active involvement in the professional circle. For example, a family mediation attorney who has writes articles about mediation and conflict resolution or maintains a blog might be a good prospect. While there are many mediation professionals who are unpublished yet highly effective in their roles, those who are should be of interest.
Lastly, while not the only vital consideration for choosing a mediation professional, cost is nonetheless important. After all, you can only hire someone you can pay. Ask your potential mediator if you have to pay them a monthly or hourly fee, but don’t stop there. At the end of the day, predictability is what you want. If someone charges a lower than usual hourly rate, make sure they won’t spend an entire day working on your final agreements.
All in all, the fact that you have decided on divorce mediation as a route to divorce has probably spared you and your family, especially the children, a huge amount of emotional and financial trouble. Make sure you make the most of that path by hiring no less than the best mediation professional, preferably a mediation lawyer, to help steer your course.
Lastly, don’t feel compelled to hire the first mediator who comes along. In fact, spend time considering at least two or three, make comparisons and then make your final choice.