What to Look for in a Mediator

For many couples, mediation is a healthy and affordable alternative for reaching a middle ground during a divorce proceeding. The benefits of mediation over a court resolution are many and, for couples who believe they can work together to amicably dissolve their divorce, it is a wonderful option that can spare feelings, avoid lengthy court proceedings, and eliminate costly legal fees.

Before mediation can begin, however, the first agreement the couple must come to is who will oversee the process for them. There are a lot of different choices of divorce and separation mediators out there—what should you look for to select the attorney that will best provide a healthy and productive atmosphere for your mediation? At Kevin B. Gibbs, APLC, I like to recommend some of following tips to all prospective clients.

A few important questions to consider when selecting a mediator include:

  • Does the attorney have mediation experience? Being a divorce lawyer and being a mediator are two very different things. Even if an attorney is very successful in divorce litigation, that does not necessarily mean that he or she is a skilled or appropriate mediator.
  • Does the attorney focus solely on family law? A lot of large firms have lawyers who promise knowledgeable service even while they straddle a number of different practice areas and, mostly likely, too many clients. There is too much on the line in your divorce or separation agreement for your mediator's attention to be divided. Make sure that your mediator is knowledgeable, focused, and passionate about serving families and couples.
  • Does the attorney have any education experience? Education is a big part of mediation and being able to properly inform clients about their options is absolutely key. Patience, critical thinking, organization, and a strong grasp on relating complicated concepts are all important educator traits also needed for an effective mediation of a divorce or a separation.
  • Does your attorney have strong trial experience? There is a lot to be gleaned from litigation experience that can be applied to a mediation session. Attorneys who have been involved in divorce litigation know what red flags to look for and how to anticipate future complications. That way, the couple is informed of—and can avoid—any possible future wrinkles that could instigate further and unwanted legal action.

The Reliable Resource Your Mediation Needs

I am a certified family law and mediation attorney with more than two decades of legal experience. As such, I have put an uncommon amount of focus on mediation at my firm and have helped countless California couples reach swift and amicable divorce and separation agreements without ever having to go to litigation. Not only have I served as an expert witness in family law trials, but I've also published papers and held lectures on numerous divorce and family law-related topics.

Choosing a mediator is a big decision. Discover the difference a seasoned and sensitive Orange County mediation attorney can make in your divorce. Call my firm today to schedule a free consultation.

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