You and your spouse have decided to minimize the stress and expense of divorce by engaging in divorce mediation. Effective divorce mediation requires a good mediator. The question then becomes; how do you find a divorce mediator?
The divorce mediation attorneys at Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman, LLC outline the various ways you can find and identify the right divorce mediator for you in this comprehensive article.
If you are looking for a divorce mediator, contact us. For over forty years we have helped couples in the Philadelphia area navigate the complexities of divorce and come out with the best result for their families. We can help you too.
Ask for a Referral from Friends
If you know someone who has used divorce mediation successfully, ask them for a referral. Also ask them what about their mediator helped them the most in resolving the issues arising from their divorce. Their answer may help you in deciding on a mediator for you.
Ask Your Marriage Counselor
If you have worked with a marriage counselor or therapist, chances are they have worked with divorce mediators and may have a list of divorce mediators they know and trust. Your marriage counselor or therapist has an idea of the issues arising from your divorce, and may be able to direct you to a divorce mediator who has experience in those issues.
Ask the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators
According to their website, members of the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators (PCM) include administrators and volunteers at community mediation centers, mediators and facilitators who work with corporate and government clients, attorneys who offer mediation as an option to clients engaged in disputes about issues ranging from custody to business contracts, administrators of programs offering specialized dispute resolution services such as special education mediation, and people involved in research on conflict management.
You can search by specialty and location at https://www.pamediation.org/locate.html
The Academy of Professional Family Mediators
The Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM) is an organization providing certification and online training to family mediators nationwide. They recommend you hire a family mediator the same way you would hire any other professional, such as a physician, lawyer or accountant., by considering the following:
- Background, education and training of the mediator
- Experience or knowledge in mediating the type of case you have
- Fees charged and how the fees are to be divided among all parties
- The mediator’s membership in APFM and other professional associations
You can search the APFM membership for family mediators near you at https://apfmnet.org/find-a-mediator/
Speak with a Divorce Mediator at Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman LLC
The divorce mediation lawyers at SFS have over forty years’ experience helping couples in the Philadelphia area resolve the issues arising from their divorce, such as child custody, child support, alimony, and distribution of marital property. We have extensive experience mediating the complex financial issues arising from both a high asset divorce as well as mediating divorces which are not high asset cases. Call us today to find out if working with one of our divorce mediators is right for you.
Divorce mediation is but one alternative dispute technique available to resolve conflict without going to court. The divorce mediators at SFS are experienced in arbitration, collaborative law, and cooperative law. Talk with us about your situation to find out which method of alternative dispute resolution would work best for you.
What to Look For in a Good Divorce Mediator
Work with a Mediator with Appropriate Training
There are many national organizations offering mediation training and certification, as well as state and local court programs. You must find a mediator who has training not only in the techniques of mediation, but in the issues arising from divorce in particular.
Work with a Mediator with Specialized Knowledge
Your Divorce Mediator Should Have Experience Resolving Your Particular Issues
You want to work with a mediator who has experience resolving the specific issues you face in your divorce. . This expertise facilitates asset valuations and helps enormously in finding the fairest way to divide your marital property.
If your sticking point is the child custody arrangement, find an mediator experienced in suggesting multiple custody arrangements.
Your Divorce Mediator Must Know the Law in Your Jurisdiction
If you come to an agreement through meditation but the terms of that agreement do not comply with the law in your jurisdiction, you will have wasted your valuable time and energy and achieved nothing. Your mediator must be familiar with your state’s divorce laws on the topics at issue in your case. For this reason it may be prudent to work with a divorce mediation attorney who is well-versed on all topics that arise in dissolving a marriage in your jurisdiction.
Note that using an attorney as a divorce mediator is different from hiring an attorney to represent or work with you as you go through the mediation process. A divorce mediation attorney acts as a neutral third party and does not represent the interests of either spouse. If you need someone to help you frame your expectations and evaluate potential agreements, consider hiring your own family law attorney who can advise you outside of mediation.
Work with a Mediator You Can Trust
When you meet with a divorce mediator, you have the opportunity to ask them about their credentials, training, and experience. Do not be afraid to ask pointed questions about the issues arising from your divorce in particular. You will get a sense of their experience and confidence by their responses. If you do not feel comfortable with that mediator, meet with others.
Find a Fair & Compassionate Mediator
Last, you must feel comfortable disclosing and discussing deeply personal family issues with your divorce mediator. Trust your instincts when you meet with a mediator for the first time.
Know the Right Questions to Ask
Concerned about asking the right questions when you first meet with a divorce mediator? Feeling a little intimidated? Use these five questions as a template and you should get all the information you need to make a decision as to whether to work with a divorce mediator.
- What is your background in divorce mediation? The divorce mediator should respond with their education, training, and experience. Many lawyers are also mediators but do not specialize in divorce mediation. Be sure to find out whether the mediator has experience and training specifically in divorce mediation.
- What types of divorce issues have you mediated? Be sure the issues you are experiencing are among those they mention, and don‘t be afraid to probe further. You want to work with someone who can help you with your particular situation.
- How long have you been mediating divorce cases like mine? How many cases like mine have you handled? Don’t hesitate to ask this question – a confident divorce mediator has a ready answer and freely discusses their experience.
- What makes a divorce mediation successful in a case like ours? The mediator should explain the basics of negotiation and collaboration and should also explain how your agreements are memorialized in a settlement agreement you submit to the court.
- What are your fees and what do those fees include? Some mediators charge by the hour. Others charge by the mediation session or offer a flat fee for the entire process. Keep in mind you and your spouse share the cost of mediation, which is far less than either of you would spend on hiring your own attorney and battling it out in court.
Work with Your Spouse to Choose a Divorce Mediator
While it may seem like a time-saver to go ahead and interview divorce mediators on your own and provide your spouse with a list to choose from, this may not be the best way to begin the mediation process, as it requires willingness to negotiate and collaborate. Discuss mediation with your spouse and whether you both should interview divorce mediators together. Deciding on the right divorce mediator for you is the first step toward agreeing on other important issues.
Make a List of Mediators to Choose From
You might separately make your lists of potential mediators and meet to narrow it down to a handful you want to visit together.
Have an Initial Meeting with Each on Your List
Divorce mediators are accustomed to meeting with a couple for the first time to determine if they are a good fit. Sometimes the divorce mediator determines the couple needs a different kind of professional help prior to engaging in mediation and can recommend that.
Speak with a Divorce Mediator Today
If you are considering engaging in divorce mediation, contact the divorce mediation attorneys at SFS today to discuss your needs. We look forward to helping your family.