“I would like to say “thank you” for being there to help us go through this process. You were patient and understanding throughout the process and I really appreciate that.” — N.I. More Client Comments
Divorce Mediation Process
|Initial Individual Sessions|
|Preparing for Mediation|
Initial Individual Mediation Sessions
The next step is for the mediator to meet separately with each party. During this session each party has a chance to provide some history/background, discuss his/her issues and give his/her perspective on what needs to be addressed to get to resolution. This includes an understanding of one’s needs and concerns, as well as his/her thoughts on potential ways to resolve these issues.
The majority of the remaining time is generally spent meeting together (unless there are specific reasons the mediator needs to meet with each party individually). During these sessions, we assist the parties in making decisions that address as many of their needs and concerns as possible. During the first joint session, the parties and the mediator work together to develop an agenda with a summary of the issues they will be addressing (based on the issues discussed in the individual interviews). Once everyone agrees on the agenda, we start working through the individual issues one by one.
After each session, the mediator will summarize the agreements reached during that session in a summary letter. Once all of the necessary issues have been covered, these summary letters will form the basis for the final Marital Settlement Agreement. We encourage our clients to make their agreements as detailed as possible. The more detailed the agreement is now, the less room there is to argue about what it means in the future. One of the reasons former spouses end up in litigation and/or back in mediation is because portions of their agreement were not clear.
We also strongly encourage both parties to utilize the services of a consulting attorney prior to final signature of the judgment. This attorney will provide you with individual analysis and commentary concerning the proposed agreement so that your interests are protected. Then any questions raised by the attorneys are brought back to mediation in order to iron out any remaining issues. Some people try to save money by forgoing this step, but we strongly encourage all of our clients to utilize the services of a consulting attorney prior to final signature of the judgment. We have a list of attorneys we work with and trust, who are also reasonably priced, that we would be happy to provide.
The initial individual sessions are generally scheduled for 1.5 hours each. The joint sessions are usually scheduled for 2 – 3 hours each and can be scheduled weekly, every other week or based on the schedules/needs of the parties. Please see our Fees & Procedures section for specifics regarding re-scheduling and cancellations.
Watch our Mock Mediation Videos for an example of a Joint Session.