How To Choose A Divorce Mediator
If you and your spouse have agreed that divorce mediation is a great idea, you should know that not all mediators are equal. To make the practice more productive and successful, the person you choose matters. Read on for some tips on choosing your divorce mediator.
What Are the Qualifications?
Unfortunately, there is no main governing body that certifies divorce mediators. You will find mediators that used to be divorce lawyers are trained in the mental health field, and you'll find those who've taken an online course and been certified under a number of agencies. In some locations, the family court system certifies mediators. Beware of mediators who only practice part-time or after their "day job." Mediators need to be up to date on state divorce laws, financial issues, issues pertaining to child custody, and more. Ask the mediator about their continuing education practices and the professional organizations they belong to. Find out about the training of any mediator before you hire them and how long they've been practicing.
Get Some Recommendations
You should be prepared to investigate and interview more than one mediator to find the right one. Start with your divorce attorney and find out who they have used successfully in the past. Friends and family members who've been through mediation is another helpful resource. For parties or couples who are participating in ongoing counseling, ask your mental health expert to make some recommendations.
Schedule Some Interviews
Once you have discussed their education and qualifications, go deeper into the way the mediator conducts their business. Find out things such as the following:
- The price for services. You will find that some mediators charge by the session and some by the hour. Some handle things similarly to the way lawyers are paid by charging an upfront retainer and then by the hour.
- Does the price include an agreement at the end or will that be up to your attorney? You will want to put the issues you've resolved down on paper so that it becomes part of the divorce agreement.
- Discuss the financial aspects of your divorce and ascertain their acumen in regards to assets, marital debts, etc. Mediators and their experience dealing with these issues can vary widely. If you are in a marriage that involves a high dollar asset and/or debt situation, it's vital that the mediator be well-versed in the pertinent issues. You don't want to spend your valuable mediation time explaining what a QDRO is to the mediator, for example.
- Do you feel comfortable with the mediator? You must feel that you can easily spend time in a room with this person and your spouse. If you find the mediator easy to talk to and communicate with, that's a very good thing.
Discuss divorce mediation with your divorce attorney and follow their recommendations on this matter. For more information, reach out to a law firm such as Gomez May LLP.