Knowledge Base

All Divorce Mediators Are Not Alike

November 1, 2017

Written by Cristy Ballou

If you have chosen to mediate your divorce, you have likely already decided that you want to control the terms of your settlement, and defined as one of your end goals, the preservation of civility.

But before you choose a mediator, do some basic due diligence because all mediators are not “created” equal.

Due-Diligence Checklist

Be informed: Know the mediator’s educational background. Find out if they have they published work in mediation or related fields.

What are the mediator’s credentials: In Massachusetts anyone can claim to be a “mediator.” However only a fraction of mediators are certified and have met the rigorous standards of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation (MCFM), the only mediation accreditation organization in the state. 

Another way to assess a mediator’s level of success is to ask about their agreements – and whether the courts have accepted them.  Our success rate, at CMDR, is 100% after 35 years of submitting agreements to court; We have never had an agreement dismissed.

Here are some of the comments from our clients after they have gone to court:  

What is the mediator’s experience?  How long has the person been handling divorce mediation—10 years? 15 years? Do they limit their practice to mediation, or do they “dabble” in mediation, but specialize in litigation?  Hopefully you will only get divorced once.  You want to make sure that your concerns, and priorities are voiced.  For this reason, it is important to have a mediator who has an established track record of facilitating settlements which reflect each party’s priorities and , thus confirming each person’s right to be heard.

Effective divorce mediators are able to help couples think outside the box to assist couples in structuring a fair and workable agreement. The end product should translate into a document that will guide you, not just in the present, but also into the future. Here is what our clients have reflected back to us:

"Speaking for myself, I really appreciate all of your efforts in working with us. Our MoU was rock solid and it was a pleasure to work together."

"Restraining orders, court hearings, and the like were draining our pocketbooks and our energy. You are a miracle worker. We have an agreement that is fair to both of us and, best of all, we are friends again. Who would have thought?" Married 16 years

"What I thought about during mediation was how the kids can and would be affected. Coming from a divorced family myself, I understood what was going through the kids' minds, and I knew what I didn't want for my children. It's all about give and take with a resolution at the end of the process. Thanks again to everyone at CMDR for your kindness and professionalism during this difficult process." Married for 19 years, father of two

The breadth of experience is probably the most important criterion for choosing a mediator—no mediator would be in business for long in this highly competitive arena, if they didn’t have both financial, tax, and legal savvy.

"People had warned me against mediation. They spoke of the extent of the estate, that my husband was financially adept and an expert negotiator. Yet, I ended up with an agreement that far surpassed even my fancy lawyer's predictions. In the end, my husband truly cared about my well-being and that of the children. The mediator's expertise in all financial areas made me feels protected and made my husband reassured that we would not be misled. I would recommend CMDR to anyone." Married 26 years, mother of three 

Choose Wisely – All Mediators Are Not the Same!

Ultimately, you need to do some due diligence to the extent possible-before you sign on with any professional, and hiring a divorce mediator is no different.  And of course, you need to feel comfortable with the person as well.  

"Through our long partnership of 24 years, we never learned to hear each other's ideas or to solve problems together. Mediation taught us the art of problem-solving and enabled us to stay in business together. Here's to 20 more years." Partner in a small business



Free in-person or telephone consultations available Literature and fees are available upon request.
To schedule an appointment, please call 781-239-1600 or e-mail us at cmdr@cmdronline.com