How to Choose a Divorce Mediator
If you and your spouse have chosen to use the mediation process for your divorce, you will want to take time to research and choose a mediator. Because all mediators are different, you should be ready to ask questions and review their backgrounds to decide if you are both on the same page when it comes to divorce goals.
Research the Mediator’s Background
Choosing a mediator for your divorce might be one of the most important decisions that you and your spouse make as the mediator will be guiding you through the process, providing legal information, and encouraging you and your spouse to reach agreements on the various issues. During mediation, you and your spouse can each also work with your own divorce lawyer as part of your divorce team. Part of the preparation in choosing a divorce mediator should be research into their background. There are several things to look for, including:
- How much they focus on divorce mediation in their practice
- Their professional preparation, including certifications and ongoing studies
- Their former clients’ perceptions of their work
- Their involvement in professional organizations related to mediation
Get to Know Your Mediator
You can schedule a consultation to meet the mediator. During this meeting, you and your spouse should ask questions that will allow you to judge how they might fit with your divorce goals. This initial consultation is a good way to decide if you are both comfortable with the mediator and if you feel that you will be able to trust their guidance and advice. You can evaluate how empathetic the mediator is and whether you believe that they will be truly neutral during the process.
During this consultation, you can also talk about the mediator’s background since they will be offering you advice during the process. Finally, as part of the consultation, you should also discuss the services offered by the mediator and the costs involved.
Understanding the Mediator’s Role in Your Divorce
As part of your initial meeting with the mediator, you should discuss the process of mediation and the role of the mediator. Understanding this is important so that you and your spouse can successfully reach a divorce agreement on the issues, even if you each also retain a divorce lawyer during the process. Some of the other important aspects of mediation that you might want to ask about include:
- The length of mediation, which can take several sessions
- The impartial role of the mediator, who will not take sides during the negotiations and instead will guide you both to communicate and negotiate
- The preparation each spouse must do before the mediation starts, such as outlining their case and goals and gathering important documents
Mediation might help you reach an agreement on all your divorce issues. However, there are times when that is not possible. In those cases, you might draft an agreement that outlines only the issues that were resolved and then choose how to proceed with the remaining issues, either by settling them later or by going to court.
How Much Does Mediation Cost?
The costs of mediation can vary and will depend on the way that each mediator chooses to charge for their services. If a mediator charges by the hour, then the total cost will depend on how many sessions you and your spouse need to solve your issues and how long those sessions are.
Other mediators might charge a flat fee for all their services so that you can have more control over the costs from the beginning of the process. Either way, mediation is often a more economical way to resolve your divorce issues than a court battle, particularly as you usually spend less time reaching agreements on the issues.
If you are ready to resolve your divorce issues in a less contentious way, you can schedule an appointment with the Law Office of Joanne Kleiner in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. We have over 35 years of experience helping our clients reach divorce agreements that allow them to move forward with their lives. You can call 215-886-1266 to set up a meeting.