How To Choose A Mediator
A divorce is a painful process for most anyone including children and especially for the party that does not want to throw in the towel. If this is the unfortunate and inevitable new chapter in your life, you and your soon to be ‘ex’ should seriously consider the divorce mediation option. Once this has been decided upon, the next and most important step will be to identify a mediator. There are many things to consider but some of the more important ones are cost, chemistry, qualified, neutrality, an educator, and a program manager.
Cost will be one of the major factors but it should not be the priority or only factor to consider. For many attorneys, there won’t be a large range of cost variance but when compared to other divorce options, the mediator is still the most inexpensive.
Chemistry is another factor for both parties because the mediator should be someone who is compassionate regardless of “who is right or wrong” and shouldn’t take sides in either case. Hopefully, everyone involved should make the children the priority when it comes to emotions, impact to lives, and outcomes.
Qualifications and training should be an important consideration too. Aside from meeting some state requirements for formal education such as social work, psychology, or similar field, and certifications including those from the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) and similar organizations. Also, consider any volunteer experience which may be listed on the American Bar Association (ABA), you’ll want to verify this too.
Neutrality is very important for both parties and if the mediator is unable or unwilling to be neutral, then it’s time to move on to find a new one. Being neutral means that the mediator stays objective and does not include their own agenda or picks sides but one who is willing to listen attentively to both sides and acknowledge each party too. This means the mediator can’t give advice to either party, and also can’t act as a lawyer for either party.
The mediator may serve as an educator too. The mediation process is something which not many people know and one in which you need to help in navigating including having the correct forms and following court protocol that will lead to the end result, a divorce. The mediator should have adequate experience and training and be willing to explain the processes and procedures for both parties. Keep in mind, the mediator is not a referee, policeman, arbitrator, and judge but someone who does not make decisions for either party but is someone more like a navigator or traffic cop.
Just like running a project or program (PM), the mediator should also be able to take on your case and use similar tools and methods. A PM typically is concerned with cost, schedule, and performance and likewise, the mediator should be focused and objective to ensure that your case is on budget and on time.