Divorce mediation is one tool to consider if you’re seeking a legal separation or divorce. A legally trained divorce mediator can help you:
• Decide how you are going to approach your separation and/or divorce;
• Understand the necessary forms and how they fit into your process; and
• Figure out how you and your ex can negotiate and/or collaborate to handle issues that may arise in the future.
There are many different kinds of divorce mediators with various backgrounds. Most are lawyers or mental health professionals. Select a mediator with experience in the areas that you are discussing, such as parenting plans and their relation to child development, divorce taxation, financial planning, business or pension valuation and division. The more expertise the mediator has in the areas you are negotiating—especially those areas where you are unsure—the more efficient and less expensive your mediation is likely to be.
If you’ve chosen mediation, here are eight questions to ask a potential mediator:
1. How long have you been a mediator?
2. How much do you charge? Do you charge per couple per hour, or per person per hour?
3. Do you meet with the parties together or separately?
4. How long does the average divorce mediation take in your practice?
5. How available are you? How quickly do you return phone calls? How long does it take to schedule an appointment?
6. Do you mediate in the direction of how a judge would rule on case? Is it important to you that the results of our mediation resemble the probable outcome of a court case?
7. What do you specialize in: family matters, taxation, financial planning, valuation, or something else? Do you have experience in these areas?
8. Do you have references, and can I call them?