Knowledge Base

Choosing the Right Mediator for
                                Your Divorce

December 2003
Written by CMDR Staff

Choosing the Right Mediator for Your Divorce

You know you don’t want to get into an angry litigation. You and your spouse agree on the basics. You’ve decided to go with mediation. Does it really matter which mediator you choose? Absolutely.

A Case In Point
Susan and Jim Wilson were married for 16 years. They had three children, a marital home and a beach house on Cape Cod. They thought they were in agreement on everything and chose a mediator who met with them for 4 sessions, got the basics down and drafted a 10-page agreement. The Wilsons were happy. They spent less than $2,000.00 and they were divorced.

As part of their agreement, the Wilsons had decided to sell their marital home. They agreed to joint ownership of the Cape house until their youngest child graduated high school. They further agreed that Mrs. Wilson would reside in the Cape house with the children. Unfortunately, there was a strong coastal storm that caused extensive water damage—a casualty that was not completely covered by insurance. Mrs. Wilson was an at-home mom and had no way to deal with the added expenses not covered by insurance. To Mrs. Wilson’s surprise, Mr. Wilson refused to share any responsibility for repairs even though he retained 50% ownership of the real estate. And, their agreement did not address liability for upkeep and repair of the house.

To further complicate matters, the Wilsons’ oldest daughter was accepted to an elite private university. Mr. Wilson was having second thoughts about funding an expensive college education, despite his pride in his daughter’s achievements. Again, there was nothing in their agreement which specified the parents’ financial liability for college funding only a statement professing each one’s intent to help their children to the best of each one’s ability.

The Wilsons could both hire attorneys and begin a costly negotiation or even litigation process. Or, they could go back to their mediator to resolve these issues. But they were angry and couldn’t understand why their mediator hadn’t prepared them for the future.

How could this have been prevented? The answer is strikingly simple--by choosing a mediator who knows that the future brings changes that can be confronted in the present, a mediator who knows not only the right questions to ask, but also knows how to guide you and your spouse in exploring answers that fit your present circumstances for “future unknowns”.

During the mediation process at CMDR, we help our clients negotiate a host of “what ifs” from loss of employment to real estate upkeep and college funding. At the Centre for Mediation, our strength lies in empowering our clients to develop a comprehensive agreement that will meet their needs now and in the years to come.

Our goal is to help divorcing couples to anticipate the future, to prepare them for the unanticipated situations, and finally, to draft a document that will last a lifetime. With the guidance and expertise of CMDR’s mediators, you and your spouse will come up with strategies, terms and conditions upon which you both agree and the documentation to deal with issues that come up in the future.

When choosing a mediator, CMDR recommends that you look for the following credentials:

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