Getting divorced? Tips for choosing a mediator

The word divorce has many negative connotations and often conjures up images of belongings being thrown out of second-story windows and forlorn children sitting idly by as their parents fight. While these types of scenes may make for good television programming or tabloid fodder, for divorcing couples a conflict-ridden divorce only intensifies what is already likely a difficult process. To avoid this added expense and stress, many couples today are opting to mediate rather than litigate their divorces.

The benefits of mediation are numerous with a mediated divorce typically saving couples significant amounts of time and money. Additionally, the process is much more collaborative and empowers couples to make decisions about important issues that are likely to have a significant impact on their lives and the lives of their children.

For couples who choose mediation, a mediator plays an integral role in the process. It’s critical, therefore, that both spouses feel comfortable and confident in their choice of a mediator.

The following are just some of the desirable qualities and qualifications that divorcing couples should keep in mind when selecting a mediator.

  • Trust your instincts – First impressions matter. If you don’t walk away with a positive feeling after meeting and speaking with a mediator, he or she probably isn’t the best fit.
  • What’s Your Comfort level? – Do you feel comfortable discussing personal matters with this individual? Does he or she seem trustworthy, genuine and empathetic?
  • Level Of Professionalism – A mediator should explain the mediation process, his or her role and your rights and responsibilities within the mediation process. Additionally, a mediator should provide helpful advice related to securing your own legal representation.  
  • Experience – Does a mediator have a background and experience in a relevant area such as family law, divorce, child development or psychology?

Divorce doesn’t have to be a contentious and negative experience. By choosing mediation, divorcing individuals can take control of the divorce process and craft solutions that work for them individually and their family.