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Finding Your Divorce Mediator!

by Nancy Hudgins, Debra Synovec
March 2009

From the Real Divorce Mediation Blog of Nancy Hudgins and Debra Synovec

Locating a qualified divorce mediator is essential and significant to the process. The mediator is your guide throughout the divorce mediation process. At first locating a mediator may seem like looking for a needle in a haystack because divorce mediators have all sorts of backgrounds and abilities, from lawyers to therapists to financial professionals and many in between. One difficulty is that in most states anyone can hang their shingle and mediate.
So how do you distinguish a really good mediator from a so-so mediator?

First, get some names of “possibly” qualified mediators to interview. Various sources can get you started on the path to finding mediators with good professional qualifications and knowing a mediator has good professional qualifications is a great place to start! Consider:

  • Referral from another professional you respect such as an attorney, a therapist, a financial professional

  • Professional Associations such as:
    > Association of Conflict Resolution which classifies mediators by training and experience
    > International Academy of Collaborative Professionals which lists Collaborative Law professionals by state; mediators that appear on the state directories provided by IACP are trained in collaborative practice which may be beneficial

  • Mediation Directories such as:
    > which classifies mediators by training and experience

  • Referral from people you know who are the mediator’s former clients, after all, they can give you a synopsis of their own experience.

Reminder.......It is important to use a directory service that classifies mediators by training and experience so that you can narrow your options down before you begin interviewing mediators.

Now you’re ready to narrow it down and interview! We will give you tips on this next time!


Nancy Hudgins, a San Francisco mediator and lawyer, began specializing in civil litigation in the 1970's. She has represented both plaintiffs and defendants, chiefly in personal injury, medical malpractice, elder abuse and product liability lawsuits, but also in a wide variety of complex litigation, including civil rights, fraud and class actions. She has settled and mediated thousands of cases. In addition to civil litigation mediation, she also co-mediates divorces with John Duda, a marriage and family therapist.

Debra Synovec, a Seattle-based mediator and lawyer, has mediated divorces for 20 years. She believes in empowering the parties to reach their own resolution.