The first step is for the couple to reach out to Divorce Mediation Advisors LLC. It is recommended that the couple make the initial phone call together. However, it is possible for one of the participants to make the initial appointment for both herself and her partner. Just as with everything in the mediation process, the communications should be transparent and both participants are privy to all communications. There are very limited exceptional situations where one participant will meet with the Mediator without the other participant present and this is only done with the consent of both participants.
The couple will sit down with a Family Mediator to get questions answered, understand the process, and get to know the Mediator. This ensures that both parties are comfortable with the personality and communication style of the Mediator. At the conclusion of the consultation, the couple is provided with some reference information to take home with them. The documents provided to the couple contains details on the mediation process, negotiation advice and information, financial data forms and instructions on how to prepare these forms, and importantly, some parenting advice as it pertains to the communication with the children regarding the divorce. Often times, clients want to begin the identifying issues that need to be resolved and discussing these issues at the initial meeting. Therefore, it is common that the first meeting also involves actual substantive mediation and working towards an agreement.
The First Session
The first session is usually and ideally scheduled the week following the consultation. The first session is the session where the couple and the mediator begin the negotiation process. The Mediator will lead the discussion and both participants will have an opportunity to be heard on each and every issue. What issues get addressed is entirely dependent on the mediator and the couple. Often times, it is beneficial and important to try and come to an agreement on custody and parenting issues at the outset. Other times, it is appropriate to jump right into budgeting and financial issues. One of the benefits of mediation is that there is no strict and rigid formula to apply to each couples mediation process. The mediator is there to make suggestions and act as a guide. A skilled divorce mediator will listen to the couple and help them decide the order in which to address the various issues.
The Mediators Role throughout the Divorce Mediation Process
The Mediator is there to help the couple identify what issues have to be worked on and importantly, what issues are not present – what the couple agrees upon. Often times, the couple enters the mediation process with an understanding on certain issues. The steps of coming to an agreement on an issue are as follows:
- The first step is to identify the problem or disagreement
- The next step is for the mediator to gather facts from each party
- Then, the mediator to provides options and possible suggestions to the parties
- After suggestions are offered, the mediator listens to each of the party’s position and feelings on the issue
- The next step is for the parties to bargain and negotiate until they reach a mutually agreeable solution. The mediator provides a range of options to solve the problem to help facilitate the give-and-take process
- The final stage is for the mediator to draft a memorandum of understanding that memorializes the details of the solution that the couple selects for that particular process.
This cycle is repeated from issue-to-issue until the couple has negotiated and agreed upon a mutually agreeable solution to all of their issues.
Once the issues have been resolved, one of our attorneys will draft a Separation Agreement, which will control the terms of the divorce and will eventually be incorporated into the parties’ Judgment of Divorce so the terms agreed upon will have the force of a court order. Our attorneys can also assist our couples to submit uncontested divorce papers to the proper court. Drafting, proofing, and editing the divorce agreement and divorce papers and then submitting the divorce papers to the Court are the final steps in the mediation process.
At Divorce Mediation Advisors LLC, your family mediator will listen carefully and craft customized possible solutions for your consideration. Remember, our divorce mediators are there to guide you – the divorce mediator is not a judge that is going to impose her will on you. You remain in control of the process from beginning to end.