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What should I look for in a divorce mediator?

Have you and your spouse decided that you want to try mediation for your divorce? One of the first things you will have to agree on is who the mediator will be. Below are some things to look for when you choose a mediator who can successfully guide both of you through the mediation process.

-- Mediation and dispute resolution education: Your mediator should have continuing training in mediation and a solid education in dispute resolution. A mediator who simply says that he or she is an attorney and doesn't require specific training might not be the best fit for you and your spouse. You want a mediator who is experienced in divorce mediation.

-- Practices family and divorce mediation: Experience creates skill and gives mediators a unique skill set to help spouses through divorce. While you don't have to have a mediator who only works as a divorce mediator, it is best to choose someone who devotes a significant percentage of his or her practice to mediation.

-- A mediator you can trust: There are many sensitive topics that will be discussed during your mediation sessions. You must have a mediator you can trust and speak to about your finances, children, property, the future and your past as a couple. You should ask questions about the mediation approach he or she uses and learn as much as you can during your initial consultation.

Some spouses are simply not able to come to an agreement on things like child custody or property division. However, if the only area where disagreements are found is in child custody and child support, then you should consider mediation successful in all the other areas.

Mediation can be very helpful during a divorce if both spouses are open to it. The mediator should not take sides, but should facilitate an open process. If you and your spouse are able to agree on the majority of issues, you both will likely save a significant amount on your legal fees, as well as saving time by staying out of the courtroom.

Source: Huffington Post, "5 Tips for Choosing the Best Divorce Mediator," Michael Aurit, May 31, 2016

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