Finding the right mediator for you
Divorce mediation entails discussion of personal and financial
subjects. You need to find a mediator with whom you are comfortable on a
personal level and someone whose expertise you can trust. A very
positive recommendation of a former client is always a help. Otherwise,
it is a good idea to first meet the mediator and ask some questions.
If a prospective mediator tells you he/she
has done divorce mediation for X number of years, find out how many cases
do they typically mediate per year. Some, especially lawyers,
do no more than 2-3 divorce mediations a year.
Mediators often come from other professions.
Some are attorneys, some social workers or therapists. Their background
can affect their style and emphasis. Some might not be comfortable with
psychological and child related issues. Others might not be comfortable
with financial issues. You will benefit from having a mediator who can handle it all.
Cost and convenience of location are important considerations, yet
they should be secondary to the questions of personal and professional fit.
Some mediators take a basic mediation training and proceed right away to practice mediation
professionally, without gaining any experience as mediators (for instance
through the courts). Others, who are informed about family law, add "mediation"
to their services although they have had no mediation training.
There is no formally recognized national certification for mediators. Some individuals take a 30 hour
mediation course and erroneously claim to be "certified" mediators. Some professional organizations
initiate local certification. In Massachusetts our primary family and divorce mediation organization,
Mass Council for Family Mediation (MCFM) has a certification program that looks at education and practice
experience. Dr. Thomson has recently submitted the required information in order to gain the Certified
Mediator title from MCFM.