divorce mediator

How to Select the Best Divorce Mediator for Us?


A divorce is never easy. Most of the time it ends in a mess, especially if a problem caused it, which is the usual last straw in marriages. It becomes a heavy burden emotionally, and at the same time, financially, because both parties would need representation in a settlement case, most of which may include child support, custody and visitation, alimony, and property division.

Luckily, Texas law encourages the use of “mediation” in cases such as divorce to help speed up the process, rather than take hours in front of a judge.

There are a lot of mediators you could easily contact to help your case, but do you really know what you are supposed to be looking for in one?

Brandon S. Peters, a renowned civil litigator, wrote a book entitled “How to Select the Best Mediator.” Here, he said that the success of the mediation comes with the choice of mediator, and he identified important elements to consider when selecting the right mediator for you. 

First, the approach a mediator should choose to apply to your situation, and what you should expect from it. Peters highlighted three common approaches to mediation:

  1. Facilitative mediation is when the mediator facilitates the session, and assists carefully in the decision-making process of both parties, while remaining neutral. Such mediators should be an active listener and must have the ability to distinguish important issues that may arise. This approach is best used in situations that are highly emotional.
  2. Evaluative mediation is when the mediator influences certain negotiations that focus on monetary outcomes. Here, the mediator will be less mindful of individual interests, and more on the parties’ shared interests, such as reducing financial costs. This approach is best used when both parties are aware of all aspects revolving their case. 
  3. Transformative mediation is when the mediator tends to resolve ongoing individual conflict before moving on with disputes that both parties share. This would attempt to inflict change on the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual levels of both parties to pave way for easier reconciliation. This approach is best used when there is a need to mend a broken relationship.

Second, Peters identified skills your mediator should have to reach a successful mediation:

  1. Flexibility and creative problem-solving capabilities,
  2. Great interpersonal communication and negotiation skills
  3. Attention to detail, and
  4. Humility to accept lack of ability in certain aspects of law.

Mediation is not for everyone. If it is for you, it is best you find the right person because he or she will play a very important role. Even if you already opted for Mediation instead of going through the Divorce proceeding, remember that you can still consult a Family lawyer even during the Mediation should you have any legal questions an attorney can best answer.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.

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