Top 10 Tips for Choosing A Divorce Mediator

  1. What are your goals? Do you need help agreeing to the terms of your divorce and getting them finalized (pre-decree mediation), or do you need guidance for disagreements that have occurred after the divorce (post-decree mediation)? Once you understand your goals, make sure that the mediator handles these types of disputes.
  1. The mediator should have a significant amount of experience in mediation. If mediation is the mediator’s primary source of income, you will likely achieve better results.
  1. The personality of the mediator should complement yours. You should feel comfortable confiding in and discussing the personal details of your marriage with this person.
  1. The mediator should also have extensive experience in family law issues.
  1. Ask the mediator what percentage of family law cases have resolved during mediation. The higher the percentage, the better your chances are of settling.
  1. How does the mediator handle perceived impasses during the session? Ask the mediator how they have encouraged parties to overcome their differences when a settlement seemed unlikely. Might they separate parties to meet privately?
  1. Seek recommendations for mediators from your community. Study each mediator’s website to get an understanding for their services.
  1. Ask each mediator how their billing procedures work and how much you can expect to pay for your mediation sessions. Ask whether the mediator takes a retainer or hourly for each session. The mediator’s rates will have to work for both you and your spouse.
  1. Ask the mediator about his style: does he mostly encourage the parties to decide their issues, or does he inform the parties of the legal implications of their settlement terms?
  1. How many continuing education courses on mediation does the mediator attend per year?