Some would say deciding to get a divorce is the hardest part. However, that may not be the case for everyone. It can easily be said the hardest part about getting a divorce is civilly settling it.
No one wants to waste time and money on lawyers and ugly fights in court. Both parties are already emotionally and mentally vulnerable, so civilly handling the settlement part can be really important to some people, especially those with children—which is where divorce mediation comes into play.
What Does a Divorce Mediator Do?
Divorce mediation is an out-of-court tool that helps couples come together and settle their disagreements without the help of the legal system. There are no lawyers involved—just both parties and the mediator.
Mediators can be a licensed lawyer or not one at all. Some have certifications while others don’t. All in all, mediators are there to facilitate a discussion, not pick sides. This can be a misconception for some parties.
They are not there to decide who’s wrong or who’s right but to help you and your ex-partner come to a fair agreement.
- Describe issues and how they can be viewed by others.
- Provide information about the legal system.
- Ask questions to make sure both parties are following the conversation.
- Restate information to make communication clear.
- Help communicate financial issues such as alimony and child support.
This can be very appealing and is known to save time, energy and money for both sides. But how do you find a divorce mediator that’s right for you and your ex-partner?
We have some ways to help you figure that out:
Do Your Research
Every mediator is different. You’ll need to take some time to look around for someone who you believe will be able to help you and your ex-partner figure things out.
Look around on websites for mediators who are ranked well. Ask friends and family if they know anyone or have heard of anyone who is really good. Don’t rush through this process because you want this to be over.
Your mediator helps you and your ex-partner get through big discussions such as financial agreements, the fairness of your agreement and how thorough your agreement is.
Once you have some candidates you feel comfortable with, it's time to interview them.
Their job is an important one, and you want to make sure they know what they’re doing. Make sure you get a background for each candidate as it may affect your specific situation.
Both parties should be present for each interview and both should take notes on what they think. Ask detailed questions, such as:
- How long have they been a mediator?
- What makes them qualified to handle your specific case?
- Do they understand the basics of every financial situation, such as child support, alimony, etc.?
- What is their rate of settlement? (How many couples have they successfully helped?)
- What kind of training and certifications do they have?
Choose Someone Together
Once you’ve conducted your interviews, sit down together and choose someone you’re both comfortable with. You both are going to have to say some vulnerable things in most cases, so it’s important both sides feel like they can trust the mediator.
If one person isn’t completely on board, consider either re-interviewing the candidate or continuing to look for someone else. Again, you don’t want to rush this just so you can settle your divorce.
At the end of the day, you both are committed to settling things in a civil way, so you both should have a say in who mediates the settlement.
Understand Your Situation
There are certain instances where you and your ex-partner should not go to a divorce mediator. Don’t go to one if:
- There is a history of any kind of abuse.
- You cannot speak your truth in front of your partner because they are domineering or disrespectful.
- One or both of you have some sort of addiction.
- You suspect your partner is hiding something.
If none of these apply to your situation, then you’re good to go and now understand how to choose a divorce mediator. Make sure to take your time, look at your options and choose someone you feel has both of your best interests in mind.
And don’t forget, we’re always here to help at Hills Law Group.