When you are searching for a local mediation company, you likely are starting online. You may use a search engine like Google to look around at a few firms, make a few calls, and look at online reviews. Recently we noticed an alarming trend in “pop-up” mediation shops owned by individuals with no legal background advertising in multiple states. Unfortunately, this has the potential to hurt clients. We felt a great need to bring it to the attention of divorcing couples in San Diego.
Why Local Matters
Be wary of mediators practicing in multiple states. While it is somewhat common for a mediator to have a legal background in two states, when a mediation group lists 3, 4, 5 or 6 states as their practice area without specific mediators residing in that state, it is a huge red flag. There are substantial differences in family law between states. For example, California is a community property state; Texas is not. The differences in how property is divided are huge. Using a mediator who doesn’t understand the nuisances in the law could be disastrous for you.
Locally, San Diego has its requirements and specifications even between its courts. For example, one court may prefer your Martial Settlement Agreement packet to be submitted in a particular way. Someone who is not familiar with the local preferences would likely submit the paperwork incorrectly, leading to delays in processing.
Choose a Mediator with a Legal Background
While a legal background (like a law degree) isn’t required to be a divorce mediator, it certainly makes a difference. A few of these online remote “mediation firms” are managed by individuals who haven’t had any legal training. Your final agreement is a complex legal document that requires legal knowledge. Period. It is vital that you have someone working with you who fully understands what is written, how it is written, and the long-term consequences of the terms included.
We urge you to choose a local mediation company that has the experience and knowledge to provide you with the service you deserve. If you would like to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, call the San Diego Family Mediation Center at (858) 736-2411 today.