Getting divorced is listed second on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale. So you will want to minimise the stress involved by choosing a good divorce mediator. Follow these top tips to find the one that is right for you.
1. Create a shortlist of possible mediators from personal recommendations. Ask your lawyer, therapist, friends and family. Alternatively you can look for family mediators in your area by checking the Family Mediation Council ‘Find a Mediator’ database https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/find-local-mediator/
2. Check their qualifications. Choose a mediator who is accredited by the Family Mediation Council, as shown on their database. Only accredited mediators can also sign court forms for you.
3. Research about them. Look at their website or marketing materials to see if they resonate with you. If you did not receive a personal recommendation to them, you may wish to ask for a reference from a local solicitor or other professional that knows them.
4. Lawyer or non-lawyer? Consider whether you want to choose a mediator that is also a family lawyer, or not. There are pros and cons to both options. Some people feel more comfortable working with a solicitor mediator because they feel that a solicitor mediator will have a clearer idea of the law. Whilst this may be true, the skills of a mediator are very different from those of a solicitor and only a few people can do both roles well. In mediation, your own solicitor will support you with advice between meetings, and so you will be receiving legal advice on your case anyway. Mediators have other backgrounds that can also be helpful, for example they might come from a therapeutic background or a business one.
5. Call the mediator and have a chat with them, or call a few to get a feel of the different styles and options. You need to feel comfortable talking to the mediator but you also want to feel comfortable that the mediator will manage the process effectively and remain impartial in their dealings with you.
6. Check the charges for meetings and for writing up any agreement. You may also want to check how many meetings the mediator proposes so you can work out a total cost. If you think you may be eligible for legal aid, then choose a mediator that is able to offer legal aid. You can check here to see if you may be eligible for legal aid https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid. You will also want to know where they hold the meetings and what appointment times they can offer and how soon.
The first step in the mediation process is to arrange a one to one individual meeting with the mediator and so this should give you a clear idea of whether you have chosen the right person.
At Abingdon Family Mediation, I am always happy to have a chat with anyone thinking about using a mediator and helping you to work out if I might be the right person for you to work with. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 0770 651 3496