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Four Tips for Choosing the Right Family Law Mediator

Four Tips for Choosing the Right Family Law Mediator

When a couple decides to get divorced, both parties likely assume that they need a divorce lawyer. However, there is another option to “lawyering up:” you can work with a divorce mediator first, to work out the details of your Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plans. Once you and your spouse have come to a resolution that suits you both, then you can consult an individual divorce attorney for advice before you sign an agreement.

Because family law issues are so personal, when you are looking to hire a family law mediator for a divorce or child custody case, it is vital that you find a mediator that you can trust and one with whom you can develop a rapport. If you need a Virginia family law mediator, you are already dealing with a stressful situation, so we have pulled together a few tips to guide you in choosing a mediator who will serve you well and support you in resolving the conflict so that you can get on with your life.

  1. Ask for a referral from family, friends and colleagues. If you have close, trusted friends who have used a mediator, get recommendations. People who know you will have a good idea about whether a particular mediator’s style might appeal to you.

  2. Call the mediators on your list and request an initial consultation. Interview more than one mediator before you make a final selection.

  3. During the initial consultation, get a feel for how they are relating to you. First impressions are important. Are they listening to you with interest in what you are saying, or are they delivering what feels like their standard introductory speech? Do you trust this person? Do they seem compassionate, empathetic? Do they come across as being passionate about their work and dedicated to their profession? Do you feel comfortable that the mediator understands your situation and is willing to work with you both to reach a fair settlement and are you comfortable with the process they review with you.

  4. Ask about their years of experience, and how much of their practice is dedicated to family law mediation. A mediator who only occasionally mediates divorce cases, is not going to be as skilled as someone (regardless of whether they are a lawyer) who focuses most of their time as a family law mediator. Mediation is a specialized skill which requires a lot of practice to be good at it.

An effective mediator must be able to balance compassion for the parties against an ability to remain neutral and reserve judgement either way.

Families throughout Northern Virginia can benefit from divorce mediation in a number of ways. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a consultation in our Reston office, please call Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd. at 703-665-7592, or fill out our contact form.