How to Find the Right Divorce Mediator
Divorce mediation remains the absolute best way to handle your divorce IF it’s right for your situation. But even when mediation is right for you, one of the first challenges is actually finding an experienced, qualified divorce mediator.
Why It’s So Hard to Find a Mediator
Divorce mediation remains the absolute best way to handle your divorce IF it’s right for your situation. But even when mediation is right for you, one of the first challenges is actually finding an experienced, qualified divorce mediator. Why? Mediation takes a lot of training, is challenging to execute, and is far less lucrative for divorce attorneys than hourly billing.
What to Look for in a Divorce Mediator
While a referral to a good divorce mediator would be the easiest way to proceed, it is unlikely you will find a mediator this way. Like most people facing divorce, you will likely find a prospective attorney through an internet search. What you should be looking for is a lawyer or law firm who has mediation front and center as part of their services. A good mediator will have all required training, a long track record of mediating divorce cases, and will be passionate about what he or she does. You should also pay close attention to how your case is screened when you contact the law firm. Their staff should be well versed in how a mediation case is handled and should be able to provide key information about the next steps and get you scheduled for a consultation, which should include your spouse. If these factors are not present, you should keep looking.
The First Steps in Divorce Mediation
It is important to understand that a potential divorce mediation should start with a consultation that includes both spouses. If a lawyer initially meets with just one party, it creates an attorney-client relationship that then creates a conflict of interest for the attorney to handle the mediation. At your consultation, the attorney should be able to provide you with a roadmap of how the mediation will proceed. That should include how and when you will gather whatever information he or she needs to help settle your case, when and how long the mediation session or sessions will occur, and how documents will be prepared. Very often a mediated divorce will be handled as a flat fee. However the fee is handled, you should have a clear idea of what the total cost of the mediation will be before you begin.
Divorce mediation is not for everyone, but if you can make it work AND find the right mediator, it can save you thousands of dollars in legal fees and countless hours of heartache.