There are many family mediators out there but how do you find a good family mediator?
Here are some tips on how to find a good family mediator.
Ask Friends & Family
Although in today’s world we can find virtually any information we want at a click of a button, there is nothing better and more reliable than the power of word of mouth recommendations.
Everyone knows someone that has gone through a divorce and chances are that it was done through family mediation. It is after all, mandatory in Australia, when there are children involved, which is often the case.
Having a family mediator recommended by someone you know and trust and who has used one successfully, allows one to approach family mediation with confidence that a workable solution will be found. A good place to start is by asking your family and friends for a referral.
Check Reviews Online
Another way is to check online and on the various social media platforms for reviews. This method can be useful, although sometimes people may not always tell the full story, while others prefer to keep their private matters out of the public eye.
Read reviews with an open mind and, where you see a negative review, read the response from the business as this often tells a different story.
Use The Family Dispute Resolution Register
You could also use the Family Dispute Resolution Register to find a list of family mediators near you.
This site contains registered and accredited family dispute resolution practitioners across Australia, and has a mix of private practitioners and low or no cost government funded services.
Just like most professions, family mediation is a specialist field. It is therefore of vital importance to find a mediator who specialises in family matters, not just a general mediator.
Family mediators have a sound legal knowledge and are capable of handling complex financial, property and parenting matters, the splitting of assets as well as understanding and managing the emotions that comes with the territory.
Check Their Credentials & Registrations
Good family mediators are registered and accredited by the National Mediators Accreditation Scheme (NMAS), and are bound by a strict code of ethics and confidentiality rules.
You can find a list of such family mediators and their credentials here.
Talk To The Mediator
A sure way of establishing whether a family mediator is suitably qualified and experienced to deal with your situation and your particular points of concern is by simply asking them.
Some family mediators offer a free first consultation or discussion, during which you will establish whether they are someone who you can trust and is capable of working towards reaching a fair outcome.
Showing a genuine caring concern for your family is always a positive indicator that you have come to the right family mediator. Another good sign is when the mediator encourages you to seek outside legal advice, should you need an extra layer of protection.
Ask For Referrals From Previous Clients
If you’re still uncertain, good family mediators will not hesitate to give you referrals from previous clients.
You may then ask them if that mediator is someone they would recommend. Most family mediators also post testimonials and reviews on their websites or Facebook page for anyone to read.
They’re Upfront About Fees
Unlike hiring a family lawyer and going through the Courts, where you have no way of knowing how long the process will take and how much it will eventually cost you, mediators are more often than not upfront about their fees, avoiding the possibility of getting any unexpected surprises at the end.
Mediators’ fees vary considerably. You may find some mediators have vast experience in the area; former judges or magistrates of the Family Court May charge fees of $5,000 and more for mediation and you might ask yourself whether this is the sort of money you think is necessary for your mediation. Some mediators may also prefer that parties have their own lawyers in attendance and you may well ask whether that additional expense is also justified in your case.
They Don’t Drag Out The Process
It’s in the interests of mediators to resolve all points of dispute as quickly and as painlessly as possible, and do not benefit in any way by dragging out the process. They keep all emotions in check, focusing only on offering legal guidance to both parties, enabling them to make their own decisions that they both can comfortably live with.
In fact, how long the process may take, depends entirely on how serious you both are in reaching a settlement that is fair for the whole family.
Are you ready to start family mediation with Move On?
Ian Shann is an accredited family mediator in Perth and is ready to help you move on with your life.