What Is a Mediator?
The divorce process can be complex and raises many questions such as what is a mediator? At Tournour Law, we strive to provide clarity and guidance to our clients. A mediator is a designated professional who assists you in negotiating the terms of your divorce, including specifics related to property division and child custody. The purpose of a mediator is to act as an unbiased third party, helping you reach a mutually beneficial outcome. They may be appointed by the court or selected by you or your spouse. Attorney Frank Tournour is a court-approved, accredited mediator who can help you reach decisions while minimizing conflict. Tournour Law firm in East Brunswick, NJ, has been providing reliable, ethical family law services since 1999.
Understanding a Mediator’s Role
A mediator is responsible for acting as an impartial third party. This individual will help you and your spouse resolve issues regarding the various aspects of your divorce to achieve outcomes that are mutually beneficial. They are involved in the process to help guide dispute resolution but should not influence the outcome.
Standards of Conduct & Duties
According to the American Bar Association, mediators are held to specific standards of conduct. A mediator has a duty to:
Allow Parties to Make Uncoerced Decisions
- The standard of self-determination requires the mediator to allow both parties to make their own choices regarding the process and outcome without coercion. They should also ensure that each party is aware that they can and should consult other professionals to help make sound decisions.
Conduct Mediation in an Unbiased Manner
- Mediators are prohibited from showing favoritism, bias, or prejudice at any point during the process. This means they may not influence the outcome to benefit one party over the other.
Avoid Conflicts of Interest
- A mediator should decline or withdraw from their role if they believe there may be a conflict of interest. This can be due to a relationship with one of the parties involved or the subject of the dispute. They are responsible for making reasonable inquiries to determine if there is a conflict of interest that may affect their ability to remain impartial.
Have the Skills to Provide Proper Mediation
- The standard of competence sets the expectation that any individual acting as a mediator should have the appropriate training, experience, and cultural understanding, among other skills, to provide effective services. If not, they should withdraw or request assistance.
- A mediator may only disclose information with the agreement of both parties. It is also their responsibility to ensure that all parties involved understand and agree which information should be kept confidential.
Mediators are prohibited from showing favoritism, bias, or prejudice at any point during the process.
Preserve the Quality of the Process
- A mediator is expected to conduct mediation in a manner that promotes diligence, timeliness, safety, presence of the appropriate parties, procedural fairness, competency, and mutual respect amongst participants. If they are also taking on another role in your divorce process, they must distinguish between the two and ensure that they have consent from both parties to participate as such.
Ethically Advertise Themselves
- To avoid misleading clients, a mediator must disclose accurate information about their qualifications to provide these services. Additionally, they should not make guarantees regardings outcomes in any of their advertising.
Provide Fee Transparency
- The mediator should ensure that potential charges and mediation fees are made to clear to both parties and provided in writing. These fees should not be contingent upon the result of mediation.
Assist in the Advancement of the Discipline
- Every mediator should be committed to helping improve the practice of mediation both through personal development and that of others in the field.
It is important that you are aware of the proper conduct you should expect from a mediator to ensure that you are provided with fair and ethical services. When selecting a mediator, you should be thorough in your evaluation and ensure you find a professional with the proper experience to provide the most effective dispute resolution.
Trusted Mediation Services
Mediation can significantly improve the divorce process for both parties. Our attorneys strive to help you reach an agreement in a swift and constructive manner, from start to finish. Contact us online or call us at (732) 418-9772 to learn more about our services and schedule a consultation.