Divorce can be a challenging, stressful process. When there are significant disagreements about asset division or child custody, people often feel that the court will take their position and support what they want.
In reality, it is highly uncertain what the judge will decide, and that decision is final in most cases. (Even judges recommend that you use mediation for more control of the outcome.)
Fortunately, divorce mediation offers an opportunity to work through disagreements in a way that keeps you in control of the outcome.
Benefits of Divorce Mediation
Mediation gives you:
- Greater control: You and your spouse are in full control of the outcome.
- More time: You can take as much time as you need (versus the very limited time of a court hearing).
- Lower expense: Mediation is far less costly than going through court.
- Faster resolution: Mediation can be scheduled quickly, while the court process adds months of delay.
Mediation Options in Vermont
Choosing a Mediator in Vermont
The first step in divorce mediation is to contact a few mediators and propose one or more names to the other party. If you have an attorney, you can ask for recommendations. Or you can search for mediators in Vermont by searching for your town name. This will show you a list of mediators who are closest to you.
Next, call two or three mediators to decide whether he or she is a good fit for you, and inquire about rates and their experience.
Call each mediator to get to know them better. As you talk with the mediator, notice his or her interpersonal skills and assess the following attributes:
- Good listening skills
- Excellent communication skills
- Ability to define and clarify issues
- Calm demeanor
(For more detailed information about selecting a mediator, see How to Choose a Mediator.)
Mediation Subsidy in Vermont
Vermont offers a mediation subsidy to those who meet the income requirements. If your household income is less than $30,000, you will only need to pay between $10 and $30 per hour. In order to use the subsidy, you will need to select a mediator who is part of the Vermont Superior Court Family Mediation Program. Select from the list of mediators in the Directory of Mediators on the Judiciary website.
Before starting mediation, you will need to complete a Subsidy Application form and document your household income. For more information, see the Family Mediation Program website.
Do mediators need to be licensed in Vermont?
No, there is no licensing for mediators in Vermont, nor in any state in the United States.
Erik Wheeler is a family mediator in Burlington, Vermont, and offers mediation for divorce, post-divorce, estate and small business disputes at Accord Mediation. www.accordmediationvt.com