What to Expect in Mediation

The goal of mediation is to help you negotiate and resolve issues such as custody, visitation, property division and support. Once both sides have agreed to use divorce mediation as an alternative to hiring separate family law attorneys, I will schedule an initial meeting session.

During this first session, both of you receive an orientation to the mediation process and you can ask any questions that you wish. I offer the mediation orientation because getting divorced and choosing a mediator are very personal, important decisions. The number of sessions needed to reach agreement depends on the complexity of the issues, and upon both your ability to work toward a solution.

You may find you need more information before reaching an agreement before continuing a session. When this occurs, we can either move on to another issue, or stop the session and schedule another appointment.  The later enables you to have time to gather the information you need and to speak to accountants, lawyers, or other advisers. Mediation works best when you don’t feel rushed to make an agreement and when you have all of the information you need to make a good, informed decision.

After you reach an agreement, I will prepare a Memorandum of Understanding.  Thereafter, you will bring the Memorandum to an Attorney to draft the Marital Settlement Agreement

Initial Appointment

  • An initial meeting is held during which both you attend and general goals of the parties are discussed
  • A written agreement with the mediator is reviewed and signed
  • The mediator will assign certain tasks at the initial meeting, such as bringing in certain documentation for the next meeting

Subsequent Appointments

  • A series of subsequent meetings are then conducted. Most will be with both of you and and the mediator, but sometimes the mediator may have individual meetings.
  • The number of meetings will depend on the number of issues the each of you need to resolve and the degree to which you are willing to compromise
  • The frequency of meetings is scheduled according to how much time you need to complete “homework assignments” and/or to “think” between sessions

Memorandum of Understanding

  • At each session the mediator makes detailed notes of agreements as they are reached
  • When all issues are resolved as a result of the mediation sessions, the mediator will draft a Memorandum of Understanding (a document summarizing the agreements that have been made)
  • The mediator will recommend that both of you take the agreement to a “consulting attorney” to look over the memorandum of Understanding and to draft a Marital Settlement Agreement for signing.
  • Once signed, the Marital Settlement Agreement  attached to a Complaint for divorce and is sent to Court to complete the divorce.