When shopping for a good mediator, here is what you should be looking for. Mediators who settle cases efficiently and fairly do the following:
- Key Issues. Help you figure out what the real issues are and focus in on these matters.
- Goals. Help you formulate your goals and keep you on track towards reaching these goals.
- Fair Process. Ensure that the settlement process is fair for both parties by evening-up the playing field in terms of power and knowledge.
- Documents and Information. Assist in formulating a list of necessary documents and information so that you do not get overwhelmed at this emotionally difficult time.
- Sorting and Categorizing. Assist in the efficient sorting and categorizing of key facts, laying out the family financial picture, determining which issues are emotional/personal versus matters which can actually be settled in mediation, and determining which battles are worth fighting.
- Education. Educating and informing you with regard to relevant legal, financial, tax and child-related matters.
- Negotiation Techniques. Use of time-tested negotiation facilitation techniques (e.g. neutralizing language, focus of needs versus strategy, ensure key information is understood, focus on problem solving versus punishment).
- Property Settlement Agreement. Provide excellent skills in writing up your Property Settlement Agreement. This is the court-ready document that sets forth your entire divorce settlement agreement. An experienced lawyer-mediator is usually best when it comes to writing up such a document.
By Erin Brockman, Mediation, Research & Marketing Assistant
& Robin Graine, JD, CDFA