01/12/2015 05:39 pm ET Updated Mar 14, 2015

How to Find a Good Divorce Mediator? Your Five Rules of Thumb

If you came to the conclusion that you prefer to handle your divorce through mediation -- you have made the right choice. Choosing a good divorce mediator is an essential step, and crucial to the success of the process. Here are five rules of thumb in choosing the right mediator for your divorce.

1. A good divorce mediator makes it easy and affordable for you.

Look for a divorce mediator who offers a flat fee for all the services they provide, as well as a free divorce consultation that includes a complete marital estate assessment. That way, you and your spouse know up front what is involved. Also, make sure your divorce mediator assists with the administrative filing of the divorce decree.

2. A good choice for a divorce mediator is an expert who is dedicated exclusively to the practice of divorce mediation.

Often times, you will find divorce mediators who are primarily private divorce litigation attorneys who practice divorce mediation as a secondary specialty. Although they can also be effective, a divorce litigation attorney is trained with a mindset that may not always be ideal for mediation. They are trained to do battle for their client, and not necessarily as trained in conflict management and mediation.

Other mediators split their practice between therapy and mediation. These are two completely different mindsets, and a professional who focuses on divorce mediation only has more experience and tools, that you will benefit from.

3. A good divorce mediator is great at problem solving.

These are professionals who are excellent in offering various options to facilitate a complex situation. You should be able to notice that already in your free consultation meeting.

4. A good divorce mediator must be compassionate.

The best divorce mediators are very much invested in you. A genuine caring and concern for both you and your family's longer-term financial and emotional wellness should be obvious on a first impression. Also, someone free of racial or gender bias, and a pleasant person to work with.

5. A good divorce mediator does everything to ensure you come out of the process with a workable agreement and a fair settlement, and will never be the catalyst to your divorce.

That's why a good mediator would not take your case unless (s)he believes that you and your spouse will be successful. In assessing this, for example, a good divorce mediator should ask whether you both agree that your marriage is over and you are each ready to move on. If either or both of you are not yet at this point, they should refer you to help you decide what each of you really want.

Good luck!