For domestic relations cases involving children, court rule requires the parents to attempt to work out a parenting plan. If mediation is needed, the court rule directs the Mediation Center to assign a mediator from a roster of certified mediators on a rotating basis. The parents or their attorneys may request a specific mediator or may retain a certified mediator on their own. The court may also assign a certified mediator to a case.
If you are choosing a mediator on your own, there are many kinds of mediators. Mediators have different styles and philosophies. Choose the style that works best for you.
- A mediator can help you talk together and help you explore your options and make your own decisions. You want a mediator who has the skills to help you have the kind of conversation you want to have, but haven’t been able to have on your own.
- Although most people think they won’t be able to reach agreement in mediation, over 70% reach agreement on some or all issues.
- If you make your own decisions, it can be better for:
- You: You will have a say in your future. You may be better able to heal from the divorce.
- If you have children: they will benefit if you are able to communicate with each other and they don’t have to live in a ‘war zone’.
- Remember, mediators can’t give you legal advice. It is best to get advice from an attorney on the consequences of possible legal options. An attorney understands how the law applies to the facts and circumstances of your situation. Some mediators may also be attorneys, however as a mediator they cannot give you legal advice. They cannot both mediate and be attorney in the same case.
- It is helpful if both of you talk to a few mediators before you choose one, so that you are choosing someone you both think you can work well with.
- Check the mediator roster which has important information about each mediator, including mediation experience, training, their fees, etc.
- Ask your friends and your attorney what mediators they recommend and why.
- Both of you should call some mediators and talk with them.
- Tell them what is important to you about your decision-making process.
- Ask how they see their role as mediator.
- Ask whether the mediator already knows either of you or has a personal bias that would affect his or her ability to be neutral when working with you.
- Which mediators sound like someone you could work with and trust?
- Choose a mediator that is acceptable to both of you.
Mediation: It’s your solution.