In Divorce Mediation
Starting the Mediation Process
Most mediations begin with a phone call to the mediator's office.
There may be a brief phone consultation or office consultation about the
mediation process. At this time, legal information is usually not
The First Mediation Session
Both parties are present and each has an opportunity to express their
thoughts on the decisions which need to be made in the divorce.
The mediator then shares legal information (not advice) about the relevant
issues to help the parties in making their own decisions. Areas
of agreement are noted. Areas of disagreement are clarified and
Between Mediation Sessions
The parties compile their financial information and may experiment with
different parenting schedules. Some parties consult with separate
attorneys, to assist with their financial forms, to understand the law
in greater detail, and to develop proposals to make at future mediation
Developing Terms of Agreement
Subsequent mediation sessions (often a total of 3-4 sessions) involve
discussions of alternative proposals for agreement on parenting issues,
child and spousal support, and property and debt division. In many
divorce mediation cases, there are trade-offs between these categories
which could not be made by a judge at court. Each party is encouraged
to make new proposals, rather than criticizing the other party's proposals,
until agreement can be reached.
Marital Settlement Agreement
The final terms of agreement are drafted into a Marital Settlement Agreement.
Each party has an opportunity to review this draft on their own, or with
a separate attorney of their choice. Once final revisions have been
made, it is signed by both parties with a notary. Then it is filed
with the court and becomes an enforceable divorce judgment.
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