Divorce mediators are not all created equal!
First, know what you are looking for in a mediator:
- What are your most challenging issues?
- Do you need help with debt and asset division?
- Child or spousal support?
- Parental alienation?
- Alcohol or chemical dependency?
- On-going communication?
- All of these issues or something else?
Divorce mediators usually do not offer direct advice, but it is useful if they have a background working with the issues that you think might be the most difficult.
Second, do some research and narrow down your choices.
Association for Conflict Resolution approved basic 40-hour divorce and family mediation training is a good beginning, but also ask about subsequent trainings the mediator has taken to hone their skills.
Most mediators had a profession before they became a mediator. Do you have property, debt or support issues? A mediator with a financial background might be good. Do you have parenting issues? A mediator with a therapy or child development background might be the best choice. Do you need a mediator who understands legal issues? You may want a mediator who practiced family law.
How many and what type of cases have they mediated? And, more importantly, have they interned with a competent mediator? This can be the key to really effective mediation. Most mediators have not done this.
Skilled mediators usually have a network of professionals with whom they can refer you to for additional help throughout the process, including lawyers, therapists, financial professionals, child specialists, and coaches, to name a few.
Most committed and top divorce mediators will be listed by national organizations such as the Association of Conflict Resolution or state bar alternative dispute resolution sections.
Much of this data can be found on the mediator’s website or their listing on mediate.com, a well-known directory listing of some of the best mediators.
Now you should have a handful of mediators to call. Next we will have some questions for you to ask when you call!