How Do I Select a Divorce Mediator?

You need to find someone that you are comfortable dealing with, that you trust. Besides that, there are three main things you need to consider in selecting a divorce mediator:

The Mediator Needs to Understand the Law

  • Divorce is a creation of the law, so it is of paramount importance that a mediator has a working knowledge of the law and of how the courts work. You don’t want to fall in the trap of discovering when your divorce is over that your binding agreement is lacking because of the mediator’s lack of legal knowledge.
  • An understanding of divorce law cannot be obtained from just a few hours on the web or from attending one mediation class. Law in Ohio is created in two ways. One way is from statutes that are passed by the legislature. The other way is common law that is created by judges as they interpret the statutes. Due to the judges’ interpretations, the law is constantly changing. Attorneys take continuing legal education classes to help them keep on top of the constantly changing areas of the law. The attorney mediator also has insight in how a court would resolve issues, which can be extremely helpful in generating options during mediation sessions.

The Mediator Needs to have Experience with Divorce

  • Anyone can call themselves a divorce mediator; they don’t necessarily have to have much knowledge on the legal topic of divorce. Laurie has seen agreements prepared by non-attorneys who thought they understood divorce, but did not, and there were many problems with the agreements due to the mediator’s lack of knowledge.
  • Mediators that represent the best interests of children in court as Guardian ad Litems obtain a special knowledge of how divorce impacts families and how the courts deal with these issues, and this understanding can be crucial to helping your family reach resolution.
  • Mediators that have the training and experience of a parenting coordinator have specialized training to deal with high conflict. This training and experience can help you and your spouse reduce conflicts.

The Mediator Needs to Have Good Facilitative Skills

  • Good facilitative skills means the mediator can listen well to what you are saying and understands your needs so that a plan can be developed that meets each of your needs.
  • It takes practice to develop good facilitative skills. So find out how many cases your mediator has mediated, and how many of those cases are resolved through mediation.