1. Review the state’s various bar association websites and consult friends and colleagues to create a list of mediators you would like to speak with about your case.
2. As you meet and interview potential mediators, ask for a list of references. Contact those references and ask about the mediator’s style and the outcomes of the cases.
3. Consider mediators who conduct mediations as a primary part of their practice. They will have more experience than one who volunteers once a month at a local mediation center.
4. A mediator who has additional experience in certain interest areas will be an excellent asset to your case. For example, mediators who are also trained Guardians Ad Litem (GAL’s) can offer deeper insight into custody issues.
5. Ask the mediator what percentage of cases have been settled during mediation. A high percentage is promising.
6. Choose a mediator who regularly attends continuing legal education seminars on mediation. These mediators will have updated information on various laws, as well as practice in new negotiating techniques.
7. How will the mediator approach a gridlock in the session? A mediator should never try to force a settlement.
8. The mediator’s fees are also important. Ask each mediator how much a session costs and when payment is due to make sure you and your spouse can afford it.
9. Discuss whether the mediator will help you by answering procedural questions to prepare certain documents you’ll need for court, or whether you and your spouse will have to find that information elsewhere.
10. Remember – personality is important! Make sure you are comfortable telling this person intimate details about your marriage.