We show our step-by-step method for a typical Lauren Smith mediation
What is a Divorce Mediation
Before we explain what goes into a mediation, let's discuss what a mediation actually is. Put simply, a mediation is where both parties come together with a neutral third party, to resolve their marriage outside of the Court system.
The important aspects here are:
Both parties need to work together to resolve the divorce
The mediation is conducted by a certified Mediator
The mediation will end with a divorce order that the couple can file on their own, or with the help of another attorney
What goes into a Divorce Mediation
Now that we know what a mediation is, let's look at our basic framework. Our proven method starts from the moment you begin your consultation call, and takes you all the way to filing.
Before anything begins, we have an introductory call with both parties, either separately or together. This call allows us to make sure everyone understands the mediation process, helps us understand the couple's goals, and provides us with valuable information (that will save time and money later).
Send Mediation Guidelines
Once we've completed the introductory call and the mediation is scheduled, we will send out mediation guidelines. These guidelines explain the mediation process and allow everyone to agree on the negotiating terms. This is an important step in making sure everyone begins the negotiation process on equal footing, and with an awareness of what to expect.
Prior to starting the mediation session, both parties will need to complete an information questionnaire. This provides some basic information for the mediator, but also helps the parties begin to think about how they want to resolve different issues.
Begin the Mediation
At this point, it's time to begin the mediation! We start the session with an introduction in "main session" (both parties and mediator together). If parties have already agreed on some provisions, we will go over those to make sure everyone is on the same page for what they have agreed upon. This is an important step in saving both time and money.
Break Into Private Rooms
Once the introductory portion of the mediation is over, we will break out into private rooms for 1-1 work between the mediator and each party. This is where we discuss issues that have not been decided upon. The mediator will move back and forth between the rooms discussing each party's position, and trying to find a resolution. By breaking out privately, negotiations can be more candid.
This is maybe the most important aspect of a mediation, and one in which we specialize!
End the Mediation and Draft Resolution
Once we either have a full agreement (or a partial agreement where it is clear we need a break), our team will draft a quick memo of the agreement. We then send this memo to both parties for further feedback and revisions.
Depending on the circumstances, we may draft a more complete agreement with incremental adjustments. We then send this out to the parties to review / edit / finish negotiating. We will either continue to work via email and calls, or schedule a follow up session to work towards a complete resolution.
In most cases, these final back-and-forths are not required.
Once we have a completed agreement, we will send it to both parties for electronic signatures. At this point, the parties can either file themselves (cheaper) or hire an attorney at a low fee to file for them (easier). We can help guide during either method.
A divorce mediation is when 2 parties come together with a neutral 3rd party (the mediator) to customize their own divorce filing outside of a Court system.
A mediation can be overwhelming from the outside. This is why hiring an experienced mediator is critical.
Mediations have a set outline that allows them to be fast, efficient, and complete.