I was recently emailed a 65-page Settlement Agreement by an unhappy couple. They said that the mediator who created the Agreement was horrible: He had produced this incredibly long Agreement, but they still had tons of unresolved issues.
They explained that the odd part was that the husband and wife were in complete agreement on everything. However, a week or two after they had been in to modify the Agreement for the third time, the mediator called them and said, “I’ve discovered more issues. You have to come back.”
They said, “We used the services of this mediator to create our Settlement Agreement.”
I asked, “Do you mind telling me who it is?”
They told me, and I said, “Hmmm, I’ve never heard of him.”
I looked him up, and he turned out to be a divorce attorney marketing himself as a mediator.
Why? A lot of couples are seeking mediation – so after years of saying that mediation is useless, some attorneys are now trying to jump on the bandwagon. They are marketing themselves as mediators, but conducting themselves like attorneys.
My advice is that, before you hire a mediator, check their credentials. Set up a consultation with them, and interview them during that meeting. Get an idea of what their background is. Ask them how many divorces they have mediated.
While some lawyers can be good mediators, just being a lawyer doesn’t qualify them as being a mediator. When choosing a mediator: