Neutrality is sometimes a difficult thing to achieve. Most people, despite their best intentions, have biases and pre-conceived notions that impact their judgments. These biases can pertain to everything from race to gender to economic status. In some cases, though, it is indeed possible for people to significantly minimize their own internal biases and truly see things objectively. This is the case for those who work as mediators. A divorce mediator is an individual who helps couples negotiate their divorce settlement amicably, out of court. Mediators offer assistance on a variety of issues (all of them, in fact, in the context of a divorce, including issues such as spousal support, division of assets, and child custody. Typically, working with a mediator is less costly and less time-consuming than settling a divorce using the adversarial, judicial process.
To ensure neutrality, mediators take several precautions. First, they exercise strict confidentiality in all dealings with a couple. All issues discussed during mediation remain fully confidential. The mediator will not testify in court or otherwise divulge anything that has occurred during mediation. Neutrality is also ensured by the fact that the mediator will not divulge anything that either spouse says to him to the other without written permission. This precaution allows mediators to hear each side without being influenced by the other spouse. The mediator is neither an advocate nor a representative for either side. Rather, the mediator acts as a third party who works to successfully overcome any biases and create a settlement that is in the best interest of everyone. Mediators are trained professionals and are used to seeing things objectively, without any “spin” or “filter” that one spouse may want to put on the facts. This training and experience allows them to see the facts objectively and then present and explain these facts, in the context of the law, in a neutral yet caring manner so as to allow the parties to come to agreement, rather than simply “agreeing to disagree.” If you are contemplating a divorce, or are in the midst of a frustrating divorce experience, consider retaining the services of a neutral mediator to help you both work through the process.