How To Choose A Good Mediator
You have decided to get divorced, and you’ve been researching mediation as an option, but there’s one problem–there’s so many mediators! There are the huge law firms with many different mediators, and then there are the individual attorneys, and then the mental health professionals, and finally the business and financial professionals. It can be so hard to know who to choose, and what to base your choice on. Having been through a divorce myself, and being a trained mediator, I like to think I have some advice to give on choosing a good mediator for you.
They should be competent. This is just a given, and should be a baseline requirement. You should make sure that anyone you are choosing has completed the necessary training to be performing domestic mediation, and that they are registered with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution (www.godr.org).
In addition to competence, you want someone that is a good fit for you personally, meaning that you feel comfortable with the mediator. If your mediator is a good fit, you will feel more comfortable disclosing necessary information (which can sometimes be embarrassing). This is important because of course you will want to be as comfortable as possible during the mediation, but also because it will speed up the mediation process. Mediators are able to function much more efficiently if they have all the necessary information and know exactly what they are dealing with.
You want a mediator who is knowledgeable about your specific problems. For example, if you have a lot of assets and are going to be discussing a lot of financial issues during your mediation, you may want to look for a mediator who also has a financial background. If you have a child with special needs, and are going to be discussing custody issues and issues related to the care of your child as he or she ages, you may want to find a mediator who is also knowledgeable in this area. A mediator does not have to know everything about the specific struggles you are having, but it helps if their specialized knowledge matches up with what you and your spouse are having to agree on at the time of your divorce.
Finally, divorce is messy, and involves a lot of emotion. If the mediator is not comfortable around emotions, it may stall the mediation process. You will want to find a mediator who is able to help the parties express and manage their emotions, and then focus on the topics that need to be discussed.