Mediation during a divorce typically follows a structured flow to ensure that both parties have the opportunity to express their concerns, negotiate, and ultimately reach agreements that are fair and mutually acceptable.
1. Introduction and Overview: The parties (attorneys are not usually present) introduce themselves and briefly state their goals for the mediation. Mediator introduces herself.
2. Mediation Agreement: Mediator explains the ground rules, confidentiality, and the voluntary nature of the mediation process.
Both parties sign a mediation agreement, acknowledging their commitment to participate in good faith. This is sometimes done before the first mediation session.
3. Opening Statements: Each party has the opportunity to make an opening statement, sharing their perspective on the issues at hand.
This allows both parties to express their feelings and concerns from the
outset. This is usually done one on one with the mediator.
4. Issue Identification: The parties discuss the various issues that need to be addressed, such as property division, child custody, child support, alimony, and more. Mediator helps identify all the relevant issues and ensures both parties have a chance to voice their concerns.
5. Information Sharing: Both parties share relevant information, such as financial documents, to facilitate informed decision-making. This transparency helps create a foundation for productive negotiations.
6. Generating Options: Mediator encourages both parties to brainstorm potential solutions for each issue. This creative phase allows for the exploration of various possibilities. Mediator may also suggest options and possibilities.
7. Negotiation and Discussion: The parties engage in discussions to negotiate and refine potential solutions. Mediator facilitates communication, ensuring that discussions remain respectful and productive.
8. Private Caucuses: At times, Mediator may hold private sessions (caucuses) with each party to discuss sensitive issues or explore potential compromises. Caucuses provide an opportunity for parties to share information confidentially. Some mediators conduct the entire mediation in this manner after the initial introductions and discussion of ground rules.
9. Evaluation and Decision-Making: As potential agreements are discussed, both parties evaluate their preferences and priorities. They consider the practicality and feasibility of proposed solutions. Sometimes Mediator will encourage both parties to discuss possible agreements with counsel prior to committing to proposed resolution.
10. Agreement Formulation: When agreements are reached on various issues, the mediator helps draft these agreements in a clear and comprehensive manner. Both parties review and discuss the agreements to ensure accuracy.
11. Review and Legal Consultation: If either party has legal representation, they may choose to review the proposed agreements with their attorneys. Legal advice ensures that the agreements align with their rights and best interests.
12. Finalizing Agreements: Once both parties are satisfied with the agreements, the mediator may finalize the documents for submission to the court. The parties may choose to have the agreements reviewed by their respective attorneys before finalization.
13. Closing and Next Steps: Mediator summarizes the agreements made and discusses any additional steps that need to be taken. Parties may choose to work with their attorneys to file the agreements with the court.