You and your spouse have made the decision you are getting a divorce. It is difficult, I know. As a divorce mediator there is a saying that “criminal courts see bad people at their best and family courts see good people at their worst.” The reason for this is the emotion. Divorce is difficult and inserting an adversarial, and often contentious piece, like the court system, into this mix just makes things worse. That is why more and more people are opting to take their case out of the hands of the judicial system and retain control of their lives in a way that is impossible without mediation. The next logical question is, “how do we choose a divorce mediator?” Don’t fret, I’ll tell you!
Top Tips for Choosing A Divorce Mediator
- Go To A Free Consultation: Any mediation service should provide you with a half hour of their time to let you know what you are getting into. Your divorce mediator, or mediators….as is found at Pacific Coast Mediation, need to let you know how their system works and why mediation is a good choice for you. You will get a feel for the people and the setting. If a company refuses to sit down with you, run!
- Check Out Your Divorce Mediator: We, at Pacific Coast Mediation post information on our website about all our mediators. They ought to have mediated a fair share of cases and know a great deal about California family law. Further, I would encourage you to consider the skill set for managing courtrooms versus the skill set used for getting people to come to their own agreements, as they are very different ones.
- Seek Out A Promising Mediation System: When choosing a divorce mediator, it is not just their track record or their former profession you must consider. You really need to investigate their system of mediation. For example, part of the system at Pacific Coast Mediation is to use both a female and a male divorce mediator at each and every mediation. We don’t conduct marathon mediation sessions unless absolutely necessary. We have a system that is effective and will leave both of you empowered.
- Ask About Their Extended Team: Does your divorce mediator have other resources? Do they employ a Marriage and Family Therapist or a Financial Planner, when needed? Does their firm have a case coordinator so you will have a person, outside of the neutral divorce mediator, to talk to about your mediation? At Pacific Coast Mediation, we do by using a team approach!
- Cost, Cost, Cost!: We know that many of you wind up at a divorce mediator for cost reasons, alone. Bottom line, no matter what divorce mediator you go to, you are going to save money over going through the court system. However, the question raised is not just how much you will have to pay, but what exactly, is included in the price. In most instances, you will still have to pay for your paperwork and Marital Settlement Agreement to be drawn up, on top of the cost of mediation. You want a place that is the best value. That means that what you get at the end is worth your payment. Pacific Coast Mediation is an all inclusive firm. We do everything from paperwork, to notary service, to filing.
Don’t go in unprepared. I know some of you don’t have the first clue about mediation while others are quite familiar with the process. Even if you know a lot about mediation, choosing a divorce mediator requires some up front knowledge about what to look for in the firm, the system, the divorce mediator(s), and the larger team. Come armed with that knowledge. Knowledge is power!