South Shore Divorce Mediation’s Nicole K. Levy offers tips on finding the right divorce mediator for your family.
Much like finding the right lawyer, finding the right mediator is the first step in the successful resolution of your divorce or legal matter. Many mediators possess the skills that are necessary for success, but not every mediator will be right for you and your situation. Each mediation presents different challenges, different personalities, and different factual scenarios. Each mediator brings different approaches to problem solving. In a divorce, finding a mediator who can operate on the same plane as you and your spouse can be the key to finding amicable solution.
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Exploring Your Divorce Mediation Options
It can be hard to predict whether a particular mediator will be a good fit for you before the first session. However, there are steps you can take while searching for mediators that can accelerate the getting-to-know-you process. The internet provides many tools for assessing mediators these days, but the first and easiest step is reviewing the biography page for a prospective mediator on his or her website. Do you want an experience family law attorney as your mediator? Do you want a mediator who is not a lawyer at all? Does the mediator specialize in the kinds of issue you believe affect your divorce.
At South Shore Divorce Mediation, we offer a low-cost, low-commitment opportunity for new clients to meet and get to know our mediators early in the process. We want you to be able to meet with us and ensure that you are comfortable with your mediator. We have multiple mediators who are not only skilled in mediations, but also family law attorneys in the Probate and Family Court who work with divorce and custody issues on a daily basis.
Finding the Right Family Mediator for You
The connection between you and your mediator can be a very personal one. Whether we are working through a divorce, custody issue, or modification, there must be a level of trust between the mediator and his or her clients. You and the other individual in mediation will rely on your mediator to provide unbiased information in order to facilitate a productive conversation. You both need to be educated about the divorce process and how you can best pursue your interests while in mediation. How a mediator approaches the relationship with the mediation participants has a significant impact on how successful the mediation works.
There are some pointers that may help guide you choose the right mediator for your situation. The first tip is educate yourself about the mediation process. Read about how mediation works and consider how your divorce or family law issue fits into the mediation process. Understanding how mediation works, and applying this knowledge to the specific issues in your legal matter, will help you understand the skills, temperament and background that will best suit you in a mediator.
Another great way to find a mediator is through word of mouth. The people who will have the best input on how a particular mediator works will always be the ones who have gone through a mediation already. Because others have been through the process, already, they can recount the details of their mediator, including what they did, how they were treated, and how effective their mediation style was in resolving the issues at hand.
Of course, finding people who have gone through mediation is not always easy, and often requires delving deep into your network of friends, family, and even acquaintances. However, once you find someone who has firsthand knowledge of a mediator, it is worth investigating. However, take into account the differences between you and the person with whom you are speaking. They may have liked their mediator being straightforward but that may not suit your needs; on the other hand, depending on the unresolved issue or issues, you may require a mediator who can be blunt or one who is more passive.
If you don’t know anyone who has used a divorce mediator from your own life, another great option is to ask a local family law attorney who does not specialize in mediation. Divorce and family law attorneys are generally of the best local divorce mediators in a given area, and most are happy to offer a referral if you pick up the phone and ask.
Reputation Matters: Select a Mediator with the Right Background
Mediation is becoming more and more popular, which can be helpful, but also risky. If you are dealing with a custody or divorce issue, you want to be sure your mediator is educated and experienced in these areas. Being a lawyer is not a prerequisite to being a mediator. However, for specific divorce, custody, or modification issues, it may be prudent to ensure your mediator has experience in these areas in the courtroom as well as outside of it. If you are interested in a particular mediator, check to see if they have a website and read about their particular experience. A particular mediator may have been around for many years, but may lack polish or practice in preparing a solid divorce agreement that must stand up in court.
Your mediator needs to be knowledgeable about your particular issues. Because Massachusetts law does not require extensive mediator training, almost anyone can “hang a shingle” and call themselves a divorce mediator in the state. You should ask tough questions like: does this mediator understand the legal concepts surrounding divorce, custody, alimony and child support that are being negotiated? Can you verify the reputation of the mediator or his or her organization or employer?
South Shore Divorce Mediation is a division of Lynch & Owens, the South Shore’s leader in divorce and family law for more than 20 years. Our reputation as leaders in the field of family law gives our mediation clients a degree of confidence when selecting a mediator. There are many less prominent organizations that offer excellent mediators as well. Just do your homework and you should be able to find a quality mediator.
While there is no perfect mediator out there, there certainly is a mediator who is right for you in your current situation. Ask questions. Do your research. Make calls. Come in for a meeting.
Avoid Retainers with Pay-As-You-Go Mediation
It can be hard to know whether mediation is right for you and your spouse. The decision only gets harder when a mediator requires a big retainer up front. With pay-as-you-go mediation through South Shore Divorce Mediation, you only pay for the mediation services you use. There are no retainers or up-front financial commitments. Call for more information today at (781) 741-5000.
Nicole is a divorce mediator and mediation coach for South Shore Divorce Mediation, with offices in Hingham, Massachusetts and East Sandwich, Massachusetts. She is also a collaborative law attorney Senior Associate Attorney for Lynch & Owens, P.C., where she specializes in divorce and family law issues. Nicole is a statutory mediator under M.G.L. Ch. 233, s. 23C and a proud member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation. To read more from Nicole Levy, check out her author page on the Lynch & Owens Blog.
Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should meet with an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. You are invited to contact our office. Contacting the office does not create an attorney-client or mediator-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to the office until such time as an attorney-client or mediator-client relationship has been established. This blog is considered an advertisement for the Law Office of Lynch & Owens, P.C. d/b/a South Shore Divorce Mediation. The Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct broadly govern all advertisements and communications made by attorneys and law firms in the Commonwealth. Generally, legal websites and any other content published on the internet by lawyers are considered a type of communication and an advertisement, according to the Comments to Rule 7.2.