This is a bit of a trick question. In most instances, either spouse can identify a mediator, call or email the mediator’s office, and schedule an initial meeting. However, many mediators are careful to avoid speaking with one spouse without the other present, particularly at the earliest stages of a mediation, to avoid any perception of favoritism by either spouse.
At South Shore Divorce Mediation, our front desk accepts calls and emails from either spouse, but we generally ask that both spouses participate in the initial contact with the mediator, whether that is by phone (via a conference call with both spouses) or an in-person meeting. It is important for a mediator to maintain not only impartiality, but the appearance of impartiality. If one spouse believes the mediator has a special relationship with the other spouse, this can undermine the trust that is crucial to the mediation process. For this reason, we try to involve both spouses from the earliest stages of a mediation.
It is important to note that once a mediation is underway, spouses will sometimes state a preference for meeting individually with a mediator, outside of the presence of the other spouse. This is often a useful technique, but private meetings between one spouse and the mediator should generally only occur with the informed consent of each spouse.