Updated: Jun 29, 2020
DEAR ELIZABETH: I was ordered to go to mediation with my ex, and the Family Court Judge chose the mediator. The whole mediation was a disaster from the beginning. The mediator was so intimidating, and we found out later that he was a former Judge. He just really did not care and was more focused on laughing with our attorneys than helping with our issues. We did not agree on anything and felt threatened the whole mediation. It was so bad that even my ex walked out. When we went back to Court the presiding Judge was so upset that she ordered us to go back to mediation. I experienced a horrible mediator and I am worried about going through the process again. What can I do for a better experience?
DEAR FRUSTRATED DAD: I know that it must have felt daunting to go to mediation just to feel frustrated. The feeling of intimidation that you described should not be stemming from your mediator. Mediation is your process and the mediator is there as a neutral. If you feel uncomfortable, please do not be afraid to address that feeling with your mediator or request another mediator. You can always ask the Judge if you and the opposing party can pick your own mediator. This will give you the opportunity to find out background information and to become aware and see if you are comfortable with how the mediator conducts their mediations. Remember this is a voluntary process and you have a right to a mediation experience that effectively attempts to resolve your issues. If your Judge does not allow you to change the mediator, you can always come to an agreement with the other party to find and change the mediator within the mediation, just make sure to include a new agreed date of mediation. There are many options in mediation that you possess to resolve your disputes. Never be afraid to ask!