Many people assume that when they get a divorce they go right to trial, where a judge decides how your assets are divided. However, that is not always the case. You will have a chance to go through mediation where you and your lawyer will meet in a room separate from your spouse. Then, the mediator will go between you and your spouse to work out issues regarding the divorce. You do not talk to each other directly, and the mediator helps ease the tensions that can happen due to getting a divorce. Here are some tips for selecting a mediator to handle this job for you.
You'll always want to ask the mediator what their fees are for working with you and your spouse. They typically charge a flat fee for their time per day, with there being options for half-day or full-day mediation. Some mediators will charge by the hour as well. This can help you compare mediators in terms of how much they are going to cost you and can help you budget for their services during the divorce process.
You should also ask about cancelation fees in case your spouse does not show up to the mediation as scheduled or any other additional fees for drafting paperwork as a result of what was decided on during mediation. All these fees add up, which is why it's important to know what they are.
A good way to judge a mediator is based on their experience. Don't ask how many years they have been working as a mediator, but what their track record is as a mediator. By knowing the total amount of mediations and how many have reached a resolution without going to trial, you can get a good idea of how successful the mediator is at working out problems during a divorce. You should also ask about training they're received and certifications they've acquired over the years.
In addition to having experience as a mediator, you want a person that has experience with family law in particular. Try to find a mediator that has experience as a former family law attorney, or even a former family law judge. They can give a more realistic view on issues, such as child support, visitation, and things of that nature. Without that experience, the mediator cannot help guide the mediation in a realistic way.