So you’ve decided to try divorce mediation instead of dragging each other to divorce court. What’s your next step? After getting an experienced Seattle divorce attorney, you will want to find an area divorce mediator who is compatible with both you and your spouse. What should you look for when choosing a mediator for your divorce or child custody case?
- Your mediator’s training and qualifications. First and foremost, mediators should have the proper training to do their jobs. Ask about their formal training, their educational background, and their knowledge of family law (especially divorce and child custody laws in Washington State). Also ask about what training they have received regarding common family issues and cultural issues.
- Your mediator’s references and experience. Has your mediator handled one Washington divorce case or one thousand? The answer may make a big difference. Find out how long the mediator has been practicing in Washington State and what other relevant experience he or she has. Talking to past clients might be helpful in finding out just how knowledgeable and experienced the mediator is.
- Your mediator’s style and philosophy. While mediators go though similar trainings, they often favor certain tools and tactics during the mediation process. Some mediators may be more involved in the process than others – and only you know which type you prefer. Pick someone who is compatible with how you and your spouse have discussions or make compromises.
- Your mediator’s personality. Mediators are people too. You may simply not get along with your mediator due to a conflict in personalities – or you may just not be a good fit. On the other hand, you may work really well with a mediator only because you, your spouse, and your mediator all understand one another. Don’t underestimate the importance of simply being compatible with your mediator.
Remember: a mediator isn’t there to solve your problems or to make decisions. They are there to help you find a way to your own decisions and compromises. If your mediator seems pushy, assertive, or biased, look elsewhere. Likewise, if you simply get a bad feeling from your meeting with the mediator, try to select a new one even if you can’t pinpoint why you are uncomfortable.
If you are seeking a Seattle divorce attorney to help guide you through the process of divorce mediation, The Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny may be able to help. Call 425-460-0550 to schedule a consultation or to learn more about our family legal services.
Questions to Ask a Potential Seattle Divorce Mediator
When it comes to divorce in Washington State, choosing mediation could be an excellent choice for you and your family. But choosing a mediator with experience and knowledge – and choosing a mediator who works well with you and your spouse – is key to having a successful, fast, and fair experience. Below, we have listed a few great questions that you should ask your potential divorce mediator before beginning the process.
- How would you describe your style of mediation?
- What is your mediation philosophy?
- What is your professional background?
- What is your mediation-related training?
- How long have you been mediating?
- What kind of mediation cases do you specialize in?
- Specifically, how many divorce cases have you mediated?
- What is your background in family law?
- Are you part of any association boards or written any articles regarding your profession?
- Have you trained other mediators or otherwise contributed to the field?
- Have you had any supplementary training recently?
- What mediator-related resources do you recommend?
- What are your fees?
- Do you have references that you can share with me?
Choosing a mediator who you and your spouse are comfortable with is also extremely important, so don’t just listen to the answers to your questions, also gauge how you feel about the mediator in general and whether you can see them navigating likely problems.
Red Flag: A Washington Divorce Mediator Who Guarantees Results
One issue that you should be especially wary about? If your mediator tells you or publically advertises that he or she can guarantee great results or that he or she can absolutely solve your divorce, property, and custody disagreements, a red flag should go up.
A Mediator Should be Honest: S/He Might not be Able to Help
It is not a mediator’s job to solve your problems or to get a great divorce settlement for you and your spouse. A mediator is simply there to help you two effectively communicate and compromise through gentle guidance, not to lead you or to make decisions for you. A mediator should realize that if the two of you cannot come to a decision, he or she should not be responsible for forcing you to make a plan. Moreover, a mediator cannot guarantee results because of a number of issues that may surface during the mediation process, such as substance abuse, domestic violence, or child abuse.
Ask potential mediators whether or not they can promise a successful mediation. If they say they can, look elsewhere. If they tell you candidly that results absolutely depend on you and your ex, and no one else, you may have found a good match.
Seek Help From Our Seattle Divorce Mediation Attorneys
A Washington State family lawyer can help you through the mediation process, from choosing a mediator that works for you and your spouse, to making certain that you are treated fairly in your divorce settlement and child custody case. To speak with a knowledgeable, experienced divorce mediation attorney, contact the Law Office of Molly B. Kenny today to schedule a private consultation: (425) 460-0550.