Posted on : April 12, 2016, By: Christopher Hildebrand
How to Pick a Divorce Mediator in Arizona
How to Choose a Divorce Mediator in Arizona
One thing makes the difference between a mediation and a pre-divorce meeting with your spouse that quickly becomes a yelling contest? The difference is the mediator. Your mediator is the key to your mediation success; his or her training and experience or lack of it can make or break the negotiations. A good mediator knows how to get spouses communicating and working toward compromise. He gives each a chance to speak without interruption, asks for explanations, and questions ambiguous statements to keep things clear.
Good mediators also give you and your spouse information about how divorce works in Arizona, and how the judge might view the issues. They may also offer alternatives for resolving problems. So if you are going to mediation, you need a good mediator. How can you find one?
Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
Kevin Park of Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys was just what I needed for my divorce. He was very approachable and personable. He was quick to recognize what I needed and provided it quickly and efficiently. I hope to never need a divorce lawyer again, but if I know anyone else who does, I will definitely recommend Kevin.
I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
I retained Hildebrand Law after interview a number of firms in the valley. Working with Michael C. was incredibly easy and informative. My case progressed in such a organized and thought out way to ensure that my needs were met. Michael was incredibly proactive and was able to see far ahead into my case to steer clear of some roadblocks. I would not hesitate to recommend Michael Clancy, and Hildebrand Law in general, to anyone.
I have worked with Hildebrand law for about 8 years. They are always ready to serve, provide guidance and give you a few options. When they provide you options they also take the time to walk you through the pros and cons of each and give you a recommendation of what is best, but will listen to you and support whatever course you choose after making and educated choice. I’d recommend them to my closest friends and feel Chris Hildebrand is now a friend to me.
Despite the unfortunate situation I found myself in, Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law helped me maneuver every step with professionalism, expertise, and even a sensitivity that was an added bonus.Chris and his staff helped me even when I didn't know I needed the help. In other words. . . they made sure we did not leave anything undone. And in the rare instance we needed the expertise of another professional, Chris knew exactly who to recommend.Chris also knew, because of his experience, what to anticipate down the road of litigation. That meant we were better prepared to meet the challenges head on, which lead to a more equitable and fair outcome. I appreciated that Chris did his best to meet my every need in a timely fashion, even if I had a simple question that required only a phone call or e-mail or if we needed to talk face-to-face.I highly recommend Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law, PC.
The state of Arizona doesn’t require that mediators be certified to practice in the state, nor does Arizona law set out any background requirements, educational requirements or necessary experience for mediators. What that means is that anyone can become a mediator in Arizona. Mediators come from many different backgrounds and offer different levels of service. This makes it essential that you check the education and experience of a potential mediator and find out the approach he or she uses in mediation before enlisting them to help you and your spouse negotiate a divorce agreement.
How to Pick a Divorce Mediator in Arizona.
Mediation is part of the legal process, but mediators don’t have to be attorneys. Those that are not attorneys must get the legal document preparation certification required by Arizona Supreme Court Rule 31 before they can charge private clients for services. And anyone working in the courts as a mediator must comply with court requirements, often 20 hours of coursework. Although some mediators work with the court system and provide services free to divorcing couples, private mediators charge for their services, usually by the hour. Their hourly rates are not regulated by state law either, so you might find a wide range of rates. Here are the steps you need to take to find the right mediator for your divorce.
1) Consider What You Want from a Mediator: The more you think about what you need and want from a mediator, the more likely it is that you can get it. Before you begin talking with potential mediators, consider your personality and that of your spouse. Is there an imbalance of power? Of confidence? Of education? Do you want a mediator who can stop your spouse from bullying you or overwhelming you with options? Think about how proactive you want your mediator to be.
Some mediators suggest options to help the parties towards an agreement. Others stand back and let the two people find their own solutions. Which approach do you think would work best for the two of you? Do you want your attorneys to be included in the mediation sessions? Do you want them present to advise but not to speak? Think about your budget for the mediation. How much will you feel comfortable spending on a mediator? This might limit your choices, but it is best to consider up front. If possible, talk with your spouse about these issues and come to a consensus.
2) Put Together a Short List: Once you know what you want in a mediator, start putting together a short list of names. You can ask for referrals from the Arizona Bar Association or your local family law court. National organizations also offer mediator referrals. You can also go through your county mediation associations. Some, like the Maricopa County Association of Family Mediators, requires its members to meet certain standards of expertise and training, including continuing education. Members also must follow the Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation adopted by the Family Section of the American Bar Association and the Association for Conflict Resolution. But don’t neglect word of mouth. Ask family, friends, coworkers and your divorce attorney for recommendations. That way, you can get the scoop on the mediators before you even call.
3) Investigate Your Options: Once you have four or five names of potential mediators, it’s time to ask each one for a packet of written information about their services. Each packet should provide information about: • how the mediator was trained, whether she did an apprenticeship or mentoring program, and how many total hours of training he or she has taken, • their experience as a mediator, how many total mediations they have conducted, how many divorce mediations they have participated in, and how many mediation agreements they have prepared, • their client agreement contract, setting out clearly their fee structure, whether they charge by the hour or the day, how much they charge, • what mediation organizations or associations they belong to, • whether they carry professional liability insurance that specifically covers mediation, and • whether they offer an introductory session at no or low cost, after which you can decide if you want to work with him or her.
4) Talk to Each Mediator: Make an appointment to meet with each potential mediator. As you talk, watch the mediator’s interpersonal and professional skills. An effective mediator will be neutral, emotionally stable, honest, and sensitive, and demonstrate integrity. See how well each mediator interviews you, how well they listen, and how well they clarify the issues to be addressed. You should feel free to question each mediator about anything presented in the written materials, or any other topics that seem important to you.
Be sure to ask each mediator for a reference or two — attorneys, other mediators or court personnel who can vouch for their qualifications. After each interview, jot down your impressions, noting things you liked and doubts you may have had about each mediator. Contact the references the mediator gave and note down their remarks. Once you’re done with the interviews, it’s time to reread your notes and figure out which person seems most likely to be able to assist you. Taking the time to find a mediator you like, respect and believe to be qualified is well worth it in the long run.