You are at a crossroads….you or your patient/client have decided that it makes sense to mediate your Family Law matter rather than litigate it. However, the question then becomes: How do I select the mediator. After all, selecting your Mediator is a big decision. This is the person who will guide you and your spouse through the maze of divorce, property division, alimony, child support, child custody and other issues. The person you choose needs to be smart, experienced, compassionate and available to meet with you and your spouse. With all that being said, what issues should you consider?:
- A good Divorce Mediator is a fair and balanced person: A good Divorce Mediator will listen to both parties and keep you on track. The Mediator should insure that the rights and interests of both parties are protected and discussed. Neither party should feel that the Mediator is only considering the feelings and opinions of one side.
- A good Divorce Mediator knows the law and can explain it to you and your spouse: Both parties need to know what the law is in their jurisdiction. There is a difference between giving legal advice and advising the parties as to the status of the law on a particular issue. Your Mediator should have a great deal of experience in Divorce Law and be able to clearly educate you about it.
- A good Divorce Mediator understands parenting issues: In many Divorce Matters, children are involved. A good Mediator knows Custody Law well and has a great deal of experience, through years of representing parties or mediating issues, to be able to both explain the law to you and to advise “what a Judge would do” in particular issues. The Mediator should be comfortable in helping you structure a Parenting Plan that makes sense for you, your spouse and especially your children.
- A good Divorce Mediator keeps your Mediation moving along: A good Divorce Mediator knows how to address issues with parties, assists them in making informed decisions and keeps the Mediation moving towards conclusion.
- A good Divorce Mediator has been formally trained in Divorce Mediation: Be sure the Mediator you are considering has the formal training in Divorce Mediation. Minimally, any Divorce Mediator should have taken not less than forty hours of Mediation training. This is the absolute minimum. Also, the Mediator should be taking yearly update training courses in Mediation. Don’t be afraid to ask anyone you are considering if they have the formal training.
As a consumer, you have the right to select the best Divorce Mediator you can locate. Advocate for yourself. Ask the right questions, find the right Mediator and you will find the experience to be as pleasant as such a process can be.
As 2015 approaches, please accept our sincere wishes for a happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful New Year.