Divorce Mediator Qualifications

Divorce Mediators are valuable professional resources who assist those going through a divorce or navigating the troubled waters leading up to a possible divorce. Divorce Mediators typically offer guidance in legal conflict resolution, without the parties incurring the higher fees that typically come with obtaining a divorce through the Court system. However, it is important to consider the divorce mediator qualifications needed for your situation.

Why Work with a Divorce Mediator?

A divorce mediator is a neutral, trained individual whose job is to help parties understand the laws applicable to divorce and separation, and assist them in creating a customized divorce agreement that works for their particular circumstances.

Working with a divorce Mediator makes it much easier for both spouses to negotiate a fair and reasonable determination of parental responsibilities, financial obligations, and property division. Costs are typically quite manageable. The Mediation process allows the preferences of the individuals to affect the final outcome much more readily than if a judge was making the decisions.

Who Can Qualify to Practice as a Divorce Mediator?

To begin with, divorce Mediators must have some kind of professional training. They are not simply “divorce Mediators”, but are rather attorneys, financial advisors, or mental health professionals who have chosen to focus their practice in divorce Mediation.

Not all Mediators are equal in terms of their training, knowledge, and real-life experience. Having “good people skills” is not enough to be qualified to practice Mediation. In fact, an “unqualified” Mediator working with a couple to reach agreement could in fact help them reach a decision that is not legally sound.

One example of this would be if a Mediator with little or no legal background were to mediate a divorce in which joint ownership of property was an issue. There are actually three types of joint ownership in Massachusetts (tenants in common, joint tenancy, and tenancy by the entirety). This is a complex matter that must be set up correctly from the start. A divorce Mediator without legal training might not have proper understanding of the law and thus might not accurately inform parties on their options in this area.

How to Choose Your Divorce Mediator

We have already covered how to choose a divorce mediator in an earlier post, but here is a quick summary:

  • Make sure you take a good look at the individual’s professional background. Take time to shop around for someone who has the appropriate credentials.
  • Find out if the person has been specifically trained in Mediation, or if s/he just woke up one day and decided to hang a shingle out advertising for divorce Mediation services. Also, basic Mediation training is one thing, but it is also critical that the person undergoes continued professional development to stay current in the field.
  • Visit a prospective divorce Mediator’s website to give you a sense of his or her background and approach. Chemistry is a big part of who you will be able to effectively work with.

In short, before working with a divorce Mediator, invest time in making sure this is the right fit for you.