What traits does a divorce mediator need to have?
If you are thinking about engaging divorce mediation for the first time, it’s understandable that you would want to know more about the actual practitioner who facilitates the process; the divorce mediator. A divorce mediator is a specialist who is trained in how to conduct negotiations between disputing parties on issues related to the breakdown of a marital relationship – such as property settlement and child custody.
Finding the right mediator is as essential to the success of the negotiation as your attitude going in. Even if you and your ex are on reasonably good terms and believe you will have a fruitful mediation, it won’t count for much if the mediator you hired lacks the professionalism necessary to do their job to an adequate standard.
Naturally, there are certain identifiable traits that are going to be beneficial for your divorce mediator to possess. The following will examine some of these traits that a divorce mediator needs to be successful in leading the negotiation with your ex.
The divorce mediator is only as good as the amount of trust they can gain from both sides. They need to provide clear and professional expertise as well as have the ability to articulate complicated issues. They must be both consistent and authentic at all times, otherwise there’s no point relying on them to help bring your dispute to a resolution.
Organisation & Appearance
Your divorce mediator also needs to demonstrate a high-degree of organisation and punctuality. There’s no way you can take a mediator seriously if they appear less professional and alert than you and your ex. This should also have a neat presentation and reflect values of fairness and integrity.
Of course, your divorce mediator should be friendly, empathetic and be approachable by both parties. They should be good listeners who appreciate and acknowledge the emotions underpinning each conversation and demonstrate that they care about securing the most favourable outcome for all parties.
Patience & Perseverance
A divorce mediator will need to demonstrate patience and perseverance when conducting the negotiation as they will likely encounter pushback from one or both parties. Disagreements and noncooperation can be expected at certain points in the process and the mediator you engage needs to be able to handle this without becoming frustrated or giving up.
Unbiased & Objective
One of the most important traits for a divorce mediator to have is that they are truly neutral and unbiased when it comes to your dispute. This means they won’t have a pre-existing relationship with either party or anything else that might represent a conflict of interest.
The mediator should also show initiative in questioning both parties and trying to identify where creative settlements can be reached. Because this kind of out-of-court negotiation is not beholden to the minimum requirements of the family court system, there is much more flexibility in how deals can be reached, and the mediator should be taking advantage of this for them to be truly worth the money you are spending.
Your divorce mediator will also need to be highly adaptable to the changing dynamic between you and your ex. At different times in the divorce process it may seem like leverage changes hands and the mediator needs to be alert as to when this appears to be happening so that they can ensure they maintain a level playing field during negotiation sessions.
‘Children first’ mentality
It is not uncommon to hear ‘best interests of the child’ thrown around a lot in divorce proceedings and it basically means that all decisions need to take the welfare of any children into account before other factors are considered. If you and your ex are dealing with a child custody dispute, then it would be important to find a mediator who shares this concern for the best interests of the child.
Hopefully the above information gives you some more insight into the traits you should look for in a divorce mediator. If you require professional divorce mediation, contact us at O’Sullivan Mediation today.