By Euan Davidson
4th July 2014
Choosing a Family Mediator
Deciding to mediate can be the best decision that a separating or divorcing couple can make but, in order to maximise the chances that there will be a positive outcome to this decision, it is vitally important that both parties think very carefully about their choice of mediator.
Often the most effective way to identify a mediator is word of mouth, whether this be via the suggestion of an accountant, counsellor, solicitor or local organisation such as a Citizens Advice Bureau, or from a friend or family member who has used a mediator.
Alternatively, you can check the Family Mediation Council website (https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/find-local-mediator/) to find a mediator who is recognised by the Ministry of Justice as a qualified mediator. You should carry out this check even if you were given the mediator’s name by someone else.
The next step is to pick up the phone and speak to the mediator before agreeing to make any payments or booking any chargeable meetings. If you find that the mediator is too busy to speak to you or that the mediation firm is trying to book you in for the first meeting without giving you detailed information about the mediator or the process then I would suggest that you look elsewhere as this might draw into question whether this will affect the suitability of the mediator’s approach to the mediation process in general.
When speaking to the mediator, it is important to ask whether they have dealt with similar cases to yours (especially when there are complex financial or children’s issues to discuss), to check whether the mediator is prepared to speak to the other party before starting the mediation process, to check whether the mediator has available slots within a suitable timeframe, to ask whether the mediator is able to offer evening and/or weekend appointment if you would prefer this and to enquire about the mediator’s skills and background.
It is also important to discuss the cost structure and likely length of the mediation process, whilst bearing in mind that you might fall into the traps of either bargain hunting or choosing a reassuringly expensive service rather than carefully considering the suitability of the mediator themselves and their approach.
Ultimately, it is vital that you only commit to starting the mediation process when you both feel comfortable with the choice of mediator and bear in mind in mind that you can always contact another mediator, even if they are based some distance away from where you live, to allow you to make a comparison of the sorts of service and approaches available.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to know more about the mediation process and remember that it is never too late to mediate
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I look forward to reading your comments.
Euan Davidson – please click for more information about the author
Godalming Family Mediation