Divorce mediation is an option for settling your divorce out of court.
Each mediator has their own procedures and methods, but typically, mediation follows several common stages.
Stage one: the intake process
Before any mediation begins, the mediator will meet with both parties to discuss expectations for the mediation process, as well as discuss terms of payment. The mediator takes this stage to gather information about the participants. This initial meeting covers administrative details, such as explaining procedures, presenting an agenda and handling questions.
Stage two: the information gathering
For the mediator to work successfully, he or she needs all the facts of your divorce and situation. You will need to provide information about the areas where you and your spouse already agree, as well as your positions on spousal support, division of marital property, child custody and child support. The mediator may ask you to bring financial statements, school paperwork, medical information and more.
Stage three: the issues at stake
During this stage, you and your spouse share your individual expectations and outcomes, as well as the reason for these outcomes. Needs and wants get evaluated against priorities, goals, values and what puts the needs of the children first.
Stage four: the negotiation process
The mediator works as a neutral third party to help both parties find areas of compromise. Mediators are exceptional problem solvers, brainstorming creative solutions to alleviate the stress of making concessions or compromises.
When parties agree on the negotiations, the settlement process follows. If not, the case moves to court. Knowing the stages involved prepares you for what to expect from the mediation process.