When you’re in the midst of a dispute with your spouse or domestic partner, mediation is an option that can help you create a parenting plan or resolution to a child custody issue that’s custom-made for your family. It can also be used to settle the complex financial issues that come up in divorce. The first step in finding a mediator near you is to get a referral or recommendation. You may ask your lawyer, a friend or family member who has used mediation, or you can go online and search for a mediator in your area.
Choosing a mediator with the right skills and experience for your unique situation is important. Some mediators have a special expertise, such as co-mediation or mediation of high conflict cases. Others are trained to mediate specific types of disputes, such as family law or civil matters. If you and your spouse have complex assets, it’s a good idea to choose a mediator who has a background in finance and/or legal matters.
You can find information about a mediator’s skills, experience and training by looking at their website or contacting them directly. Many mediators offer online teleconference options or meet with clients in-person, or both. If you need to travel to meet with a mediator, make sure that you can afford the cost of doing so. Mediation fees vary depending on the mediator, the type of case and its complexity. Some mediators have a sliding fee scale based on income, and some are part of court-connected or community programs that provide mediation for free or at a reduced rate.
Once you’ve found a mediator, it’s a good idea to prepare for the session by understanding your dispute and the issues you need to resolve. It’s helpful to write down the main points of your dispute and think about what solutions might be most or least likely to work for you. It’s also a good idea to bring documents that provide financial and other relevant information to your mediation session.
The other thing to do is to ask the mediator questions about how they conduct their practice. For example, ask about the number of cases they have mediated and whether their approach is collaborative or transactional. You should also ask whether they have any additional resources or networks of professionals that they use to support their clients through the process. For instance, if you’re divorcing a couple who has significant retirement accounts and other investment assets, it’s a good idea for the mediator to have expertise in performing pension valuations. This can save you time and money in the long run. You can also find out if the mediator offers coaching, which can be very helpful to couples who are having a hard time communicating during the emotional process of divorce. mediators near me