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What Kind of Mediator is the Best Fit for Your Divorce?


When you divorce through mediation, you choose to work with a neutral third party to reach an appropriate divorce settlement through a series of guided, productive discussions with your spouse. Not all mediators approach these discussions the same way; some are far more “hands on” than others. Whether you and your spouse would benefit from a more hands-on mediator or one who takes a more passive role depends on your personalities and how much guidance you need to make productive decisions about your divorce settlement.

The Active/Passive Scale

Mediators are gauged according to where they fall on the active/passive scale. More active mediators take deliberate steps to facilitate specific settlements, whereas more passive mediators are primarily messengers, leaving the bulk of the work toward a settlement in the divorcing parties’ hands. Generally, trial lawyers prefer more active mediators.

Mediation types can be split into two categories: evaluative and facilitative. With an evaluative approach to mediation, the mediator offers suggestions based on his or her observations of the divorcing parties’ positions, carefully balancing his or her opinions with the individuals’ right to self-determination. With the facilitative approach, the mediator is primarily an encourager who answers questions to enable the couple to reach their own resolution. Most mediators fall somewhere between these two goalposts and adjust their mediation styles according to divorcing couples’ needs. 

The Right to Self-Determination

The concept of the right to self-determination is simple: it is the right to control one’s own outcomes. Couples who choose to divorce through mediation or collaborative law do so because these methods give them greater control over their outcomes. Florida law states that “A mediator is responsible for assisting the parties in reaching informed and voluntary decisions while protecting their right of self-determination.” In other words, a mediator cannot make decisions for a couple.

Finding the Ideal Mediator for you

When you work with a mediator, one of the most important points to ensure is that the mediator suits your style You should have clear expectations of the role of the mediator and what she can or cannot ethically do for you.

One way to prepare for mediation and vet prospective mediators is for the divorcing couple’s individual lawyers or for the parties  to speak with mediators about their cases before beginning the mediation process. This way, all parties can become acquainted with the mediator’s style and discuss their clients’ personalities and specific needs to him or her, creating a more productive environment for the couple when they do begin the mediation process.

Work with an Experienced Orlando Family Mediator

Choosing to divorce through mediation does not eliminate the necessity of working with an experiencedmediator. Yourmediator’s’s job is to faciliate resolution and to achiever your goals and interests through the dmediation process to help you reach a settlement that suits your needs. Get started with Goodblatt ∙ Leo today by contacting our office to schedule your initial  consultation.




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