During such a sensitive and sometimes chaotic time in your life, it is important to work with a mediator that is experienced and sympathetic. Make sure a divorce mediator can answer these five questions before you hire them.
1. Are they experienced and qualified to do divorce mediation?
It may surprise you to know that divorce mediators can have any of the following backgrounds (attorneys, therapists, real estate professionals and evenauto-mechanics. Inquire as to how they became a mediator, how long has he/she been providing mediation services, how many divorce mediations they have done.
2. Do they know the law on child support,division of assets, retirement and alimony?
Ask the mediator if they are familiar with the topics of a divorce mediation- from children issues to asset/liability collection and division to budgeting and cash flow issues (child support, alimony). Ask about their education and background on the topics.
3. Are they capable of putting together all court documents necessary to present to a court and judge?
Mediators who are also attorneys are the only people (professionals) allowed to and capable of preparing the required court documents including a "legally enforceable divorce agreement".
4. What is their mediation style?
Are they passive or interactive? Remember, mediation is a process to resolve conflict. To what extent if any do they get into the topics, share legal information and comment on the considerations a court uses to accept/reject an agreement.
5. Do they have a flat fee or hourly wage? There is a big difference
Divorce mediation generally consists of 2 parts: mediation sessions and document preparation. Does the mediator charge by the hour like a lawyer, with the requirement of a retainer, and charge for emails, telephone calls, (work you don't see) do they charge per session with no retainer, do they have a flat fee for document preparation? will they give you a ball park estimate of fees? Most consumers are looking for some comfort in an expected cost of the total of the mediation for budgeting purposes.