It takes plenty of time and effort to finalize a divorce. Many people choose to hire a divorce mediator to help them settle matters amicably. But with so many mediators out there, how do you know which one is right for you?
Let us help you with a few key tips on choosing the right divorce mediator. You should know that all divorce mediators are not created equal.
Before you retain a mediator:
- Make sure he/she is an educator. A good divorce mediator will educate you on the law, to help you make an informed decision. Some mediators are evaluative, and will tell you their opinion as to the ultimate income if you case winds up in court.
- Look for someone who is not biased one way or the other. The mediator must stay neutral, and respect the rights and interests of both parties.
- Find a candidate who is practical. A mediator should be able to come up with creative solutions that are easy to apply to your situation.
- A good divorce mediator will make things affordable. While mediators come in all shapes and sizes, it does not have to cost you an arm and a leg to visit with someone good. While the top mediators in town charge over $350.00 per hour, there are many fine neutrals with rates around $200.00 per hour.
- Look for compassion. A mediator should be willing to invest his/her time in your situation, listen to you and treat you with dignity.
- Hire someone with solid credentials. While the practice of law is highly regulated, the practice of mediation is not. Anyone, literally, can hold themselves out as a mediator. The best family law mediators are those with years of experience as a family law attorney or judge.
You may wish to start looking online. Generate a list of five, or so, mediators in your area that you like. Speak with each, and get a sense of who feels right to you.
You might also consider contacting few attorneys who specialize in divorce and family law matters. Most are willing to take a moment and provide a “list of usual suspects” for you. You’ll likely find several names repeated. Of course, that should mean something about the credentials of that particular mediator.