Step 1 - Understand the qualifications of a “good” divorce mediator
Choosing a mediator qualified to handle your divorce is critical to achieving an agreeable dissolution of marriage. Your mediator will play a vital role in reaching decisions about long-term financial and emotional well-being for you and your family, so it is worth investing time to learn the qualifications of a good mediator.
How long has the mediator been in business? How many cases has the mediator handled, and how many were similar to yours?
Find a mediator that has received extensive training in divorce mediation. Basic training for divorce mediation takes at least 40 hours, but some states require no training or certification at all, so it’s important to pay attention.
Philosophy and approach
The best mediators know when to offer options to the divorcing couple and when to let the couple talk it out themselves. Look for a mediator that you think would be a comfortable fit for you.
Step 2 - Meet with your candidates in person
You will learn valuable information from an in-person meeting. During the consultation, confirm that the mediator:
Is invested in you
Your first impression of the mediator should be a positive one. Look for someone who appears to be a pleasant person to work with and free of biases regarding gender, race, sexual orientation, and the like. They should be compassionate and genuinely interested in the well-being of your family.
Is a great problem solver
Mediators should grasp complexities quickly. Ask what their resolution rate is for cases similar to yours.
Can explain the entire administrative process
The initial consultation should include a discussion of the process of legally filing a divorce, and how involved the mediator will be in that process. What will mediation fees include?
Can provide a range of services, or facilitate getting them
Sometimes other services are needed during a divorce -- if the mediator provides them, is there a separate fee? If the mediator does not provide the service directly, can s/he refer you to trusted professionals who can? (The answer should be an immediate yes.) These additional services may include:
Real estate/Mortgage valuation
Child welfare evaluation
Has a payment structure you can work with
Payment structures vary greatly, so after discovering what the mediator offers and what the fees are, find out how you will be expected to pay. Is there a retainer? Will you be billed hourly, or per session? Are payments made upfront or after each session?
If you or someone you know could benefit from assistance in decision making during a divorce, contact Falmouth Mediation at 508-566-4159 for a free, no-obligation, private, confidential consultation. We will be happy to discuss the key details of your situation, address any concerns, and help you decide if divorce mediation would be beneficial.