You can always use a mediator. If your divorce involves complex issues, though, the trick is to find the right mediator.
The first thing you need to do is to identify what kinds of issues you have. If your complex issues involve your children, or parenting issues, then you might be best served by a mediator who has a background in social work or psychology. That kind of training will help the mediator deal with the heavy emotions that will undoubtedly arise when you’re trying to resolve parenting and child-based issues.
If your complex issues are more legal in nature, then you may want to enlist the aid of a mediator who is an attorney. His or her background and training may help you figure out what is or is not marital property, and what the law in general requires. While the mediator will not be able to give you and your spouse legal advice, if s/he has a working knowledge of family law, the mediator may be able to better guide you through your complex legal issues and to make an agreement that will either resolve those issues, or at least deal with them in a manner acceptable to you and your spouse.
If your complex issues are financial, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer/mediator and also hiring an accountant or other financial expert to work with the mediator and help you understand and resolve your financial issues. If you and your spouse can agree on a financial expert on whom you trust, then you can hire one expert who will work with both of you and with your mediator. That is certainly the most economical approach. Otherwise, you and your spouse can each obtain your own expert to work through the heavy financial issues individually. What you need to realize, though, is that if you and your spouse are facing complex financial issues in your divorce, and you can’t even agree on what expert you want to use to help you analyze and resolve those issues, the chances that your mediation will ultimately be successful are probably not the best.
Karen A. Covy, J.D. is a divorce attorney and family law mediator in Chicago Illinois . She is the author of When Happily Ever After Ends, How to Survive Your Divorce Emotionally, Financially and Legally. She can be reached at (312) 236-1670, or thru email. View her Divorce Magazine profile.