About Mediation

Choosing A Mediator

How do you choose a mediator that is highly skilled, professional, and a right for you and your dispute? While mediators often have a background in social work or law, many states (including Oregon) do not license or regulate mediation services; so anybody can call oneself a mediator. The following items will assist you in selecting a mediator:

  • Training - What kind and how much training do they have specifically in mediation and conflict resolution?
  • Experience - How much mediation experience do they have? It helps if they are experienced in the specific type of conflict you are in. (for example, divorce/separation, intellectual property, health care, labor dispute, etc.)
  • Style - Understand the implications of different mediator styles, and pick a mediator who's style is a good fit for both of the parties. If the mediator's style isn't outwardly expressed, their previous or concurrent career may provide some indication of a style preference.
  • Certifications & Affiliations - Most of the best and committed mediators will be members of, and certified by professional mediation organizations, and will be listed in their directories.
  • Your Experience - The best way to choose a mediator that is right for you is by contacting them, meeting them, and reflecting on your own experience. Some questions to ask yourself include:
    • Do you have a sense that they heard you and accurately clarify your dispute?
    • Are they unbiased and do they equally support each participant?
    • Do you feel like your interests are protected in their process?
    • Are they organized with their information and the process?
    • Are they open to your feedback on how they are serving you?

Divorce/Separation Mediation

A mediator assisting couples and families with divorce and separation issues must play several different roles, so it is important that they have some competence and experience in the following areas:

  1. Marriage/Family Counseling - Understanding and skill working with relationship and family dynamics, grief and healing processes.
  2. Conflict Resolution/Negotiation - Distinct from counseling, the ability to guide people through negotiating and making agreements on disputed issues.
  3. Legal - Understanding the current laws and application of laws regarding divorce and legal separation, as well as working knowledge of the family court system.
  4. Financial/Tax - Financial analysis for understanding and guiding clients in different ways to structure settlements depending on their financial goals and tax implications.
  5. Parenting Coach - Knowledge of child psychology and parenting styles and issues for ensuring decisions and communication patterns consider the children's best interests, and maximize the chances of healthy adaption to the family re-structuring.