How to choose a divorce mediator?

How to choose a divorce mediator?

If you are in Orange County and do an online search for divorce “Mediator Orange County,” there are about 405000 search results. What is the best way to choose a divorce mediator Orange County in general, and the mediator who has the techniques, style, and approach suitable for you and your spouse?
(1) Generally, when someone looks for professional services, they consider:
  • Price
  • Experience
  • Availability
  • Location
  • Reviews/Testimonials
  • Credentials and training
  • Professionalism
  • Trustworthy
(2) There are certain specific mediator characteristics to keep in mind while evaluating how to choose a divorce mediator Orange County:
  • Estimated time of process; Be sure that divorce mediator is result oriented.
  • Ability to asses where the parties are at, see page “When and Why is it Important that you are BOTH Ready to Get a Divorce?”
    • Creativity in helping explore alternative decision making
    • Active listening skill, which includes attending, following, asking reflecting questions
    (3) Finally, when searching for a divorce mediator Orange County, you need to know that each divorce mediator is using specific techniques, strategy, and style of divorce mediation. One divorce mediator Orange County can use an Evaluative Approach, another can use Facilitative Approach. Some divorce mediators use Transformative approach focused on Conflict interaction. A Facilitative Divorce Mediator Orange County will guide the spouses in reaching a mutually agreeable solution.
    The mediator is asking questions, moving from the position to interests and needs, exploring and analyzing options for mutual benefit. The facilitative mediators usually don’t make recommendations to the spouses. Evaluative divorce mediator analyzes weaknesses and strength of the case.
    The mediator predicts what would be the judge’s decision. The evaluative divorce mediator suggests solutions and apply pressure on the parties. A Transformative divorce mediator focuses on moving parties from negative conflict interaction to positive conflict interaction (transforming the conflict).
    In positive conflict interaction, parties are capable of resolving the dispute themselves.It will be a good idea to interview a Divorce Mediator Orange County, perhaps three or four of them to be sure you are comfortable with their approach of mediation and their personality before making a final choice.
    You might also consider asking a mediator whether he or she provides legal material to help you in understanding basic legal background for your legal issue(s). A mediator cannot give you legal advice, even if the mediator is a licensed attorney. However, any certified divorce mediator, whether he or she is an attorney, paralegal, or any other related field, is trained enough to provide you with legal material for you to make an informed decision.

When choosing a divorce mediator in Orange County (or elsewhere), there are several additional factors that you may also want to consider:

**Personal Compatibility**: Divorce is a deeply personal matter, and it’s important that both you and your spouse feel comfortable with the mediator. During initial consultations, gauge how you both feel about the mediator’s demeanor, empathy, and responsiveness to your concerns.

**Specialization**: Find out if the mediator specializes in divorce mediation as opposed to other types of mediation. A mediator who focuses on divorce is likely to be more adept at navigating the particular challenges and complexities that come with it.

**Mediation Style**: As you mentioned, there are different mediation styles (Facilitative, Evaluative, and Transformative). In your initial discussions, ask the mediator to describe their style and why they prefer it. This discussion can also help you understand if their approach aligns with what you are looking for.

**References**: You could ask for references from past clients. Speaking to someone who has been through the mediation process with the mediator can provide valuable insights into what you can expect.

**Conflict Resolution Skills**: Find out how the mediator handles high-conflict situations. Since emotions can run high in divorce cases, it’s essential to know that your mediator can effectively handle conflict and work towards resolutions.

**Professional Associations**: Membership in professional associations can indicate a mediator’s commitment to the field and adherence to certain ethical standards. Look for involvement in organizations like the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM) or the Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA).

**Continuing Education**: Inquire about the mediator’s commitment to ongoing training. Mediation strategies evolve, and frequent training can be an indicator of a mediator’s dedication to their craft.

**Case Management**: Ask about how they manage the case from start to end. Understanding their process can help set realistic expectations and may highlight how organized and efficient they are.

**Agreement Drafting**: Determine if the mediator will help draft your settlement agreement. This final step is crucial, and the mediator should either be skilled in drafting agreements or willing to work with legal professionals who are.

**Confidentiality**: Ensure that the mediator has a strict confidentiality policy. Privacy is crucial in divorce proceedings, and you want to be sure that your sensitive information is protected.

By considering these additional factors alongside the general professional services criteria and the specific mediator characteristics you’ve already identified, you can make a more informed decision. Ultimately, the right divorce mediator is one who is not only qualified but also makes you feel heard, respected, and well-guided throughout the entire process.