If you and your spouse cannot agree on certain key issues with your divorce, it might be time to consider using a professional mediator. The mediation process can cut back on the time and money needed to litigate matters in front of a judge and it's a lot less stressful too. To help you figure out what to do to hire the best person for the job, read below.
Getting Started Using Recommendations
Increasingly, family court judges are sending couples with disagreements to mediation whether they realize it's a good thing or not. Fortunately, mediation often works and judges know it. If you and your spouse are court-ordered to mediation, you may be provided with a list of approved mediators to choose from. If not, ask your divorce lawyer. Lawyers usually know and trust certain professional mediators they've worked with in the past. You might also query family and friends who've successfully used a divorce mediator in the past.
Verifying the Mediator
Unfortunately, almost anyone can call themselves a divorce mediator. That's why you must check up on mediators not recommended by the court. They may not have to have a license, but many do have advanced degrees and often have mental health practices in addition to mediator duties. Professional mediator organizations exist, but membership is not required to be a skilled and legitimate mediator. While the mediator doesn't need to have legal training, they should know enough about divorce law not to interfere in legal matters. The issues matter too. If you are dealing with financial issues, the mediator should have a working knowledge of marital property law. Check the mediator's experience and their areas of specialization too. Some work mostly with custody matters.
How it Works
Mediators focus on one contested issue at a time and try to bring about compromise between the couple. For example, if the couple is fighting over who gets ownership of a beloved family pet, the mediator might ask the couple to discuss the reasons they think they should get "pet custody". Some couples are so invested in the fight that they fail to see what's really best for everyone. Mediation takes place in a relaxed but controlled environment with lots of rules about behavior and respect. When a couple is able to come to an agreement on a given topic, the mediation moves on to other issues. Everything the couple agrees upon is put into writing and the divorce lawyers make legal.
Ask your divorce lawyer about using a mediator.