Mediation Ethics: Standards for Service
Mediation is a great option for couples that don’t want the traditional courtroom divorce. Without the formality of attorney representation, a judge, and a courtroom, mediation appears to some as ineffective and informal.
In reality, mediation tends to be very effective in helping couples stay in control of their divorce and its outcome.
Mediation also tends to be more flexible and leaves more room for individual styles between mediators. While each mediator’s style may differ, his or her ethical obligations do not. Mediators follow certain ethical standards to guide them in their practice, much like attorneys do. Although mediators have many different ethical guidelines they can follow, here are a few that are particularly relevant to divorce mediation cases:
Mediators must always remain neutral. Mediators cannot provide you with legal advice, side with one spouse, or otherwise act in an impartial manner.
Mediators must educate their clients. To best serve the clients’ interest, a mediator will educate the clients on the mediation process and the role of the mediator. Mediators will also inform the clients of their rights and responsibilities and require both spouses sign an agreement to mediate. This typically includes agreed upon communication methods, a confidentiality notice, guidelines for mediation conduct, an acknowledgment that the mediation is entirely voluntary and that any agreement that results from it isn’t legally enforceable, and a clause releasing the mediator from any liability. Mediators must keep mediation materials confidential. They also educate both spouses on confidentiality practices. Confidentiality is one of the benefits of mediation. Mediation keeps as much as possible out of the courtroom and therefore the court record.
Mediators must make sure the spouses are the sole creators of the separation agreement. Mediators do not make decisions for the spouses and make sure the spouses are educated on their rights in the process, so the outcome is wholly in their clients’ hands.
Mediation is growing in popularity as more and more couples look for alternatives to the traditional courtroom battle. While mediators do rely on creativity to tailor the mediation toward their clients, they also follow ethical guidelines to ensure the integrity of the mediation process is upheld.
Consult with an experienced Massachusetts divorce mediator if you have any questions about the mediation process or the role of the mediator.
Do you have questions about divorce mediation? Mediation Advantage Services can help you. Experienced in divorce mediation, family law attorney Polly A. Tatum can guide you through the mediation process, helping ensure your success. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson.
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