Steps In Divorce Mediation
Congratulations on exploring an alternative to adversarial divorce. Separation is never easy, but Reflective Mediation can help save you money, time and heartache.
Step 1 – Intake Meeting
The first step is a confidential Intake Meeting. This entails an explanation of the mediation process and a screening for domestic violence or power imbalance. This session also provides the client with a private opportunity to outline the issue(s) in dispute.
The purpose of this important meeting is primarily to ensure that mediation is a fair and appropriate process for both parties.
Step 2 – Pre-Mediation Coaching (Optional)
One unique feature of Reflective Mediation is that we offer one-on-on conflict management coaching and mindfulness/stress reduction services to help clients prepare for mediation. Many individuals experience levels of stress that they fear may prevent them from thinking clearly and making wise decisions during mediation. Conflict management coaching provides private training to enhance your skill and confidence in negotiation. (see Conflict Management Coaching).
Step 3 – Mediation
Parties now come together with the mediator. They review and sign an Agreement to Mediate and provide a retainer prior to commencing the mediation process. (See Fees for payment details)
The process begins with each party expressing the issues that are his or her primary goals. Parties are asked to reflect back what they have heard from one another to ensure respectful listening. This can be difficult, but is necessary to set a tone of trust for our sessions.
Issues are identified and systematically addressed in the areas of
- Property Division
- Child Support
- Spousal Support
- Parenting Plan
The duration of mediation isn’t easy to predict. The length of time required varies according to the complexity of the issues on the table, the focus and flexibility of the participants, and the extent to which parties are committed to reaching settlement.
Step 4 - Support From Other Professionals
Other professionals, such as financial and psychological specialists, may be required to complete the process, depending on the complexity of the case. The Professional Support Network provided by Reflective Mediation offers a full range of professional services, although clients are welcome to seek those services elsewhere. Please check the links to other Reflective Mediation providers under: About Us – Who We Are: Our Professional Support Network.
Step 5 - Documentation
Terms agreed upon in mediation are written by the mediator into a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU). This detailed summary may be a partial settlement (such as a parenting plan or property division) or it may be a comprehensive agreement covering all aspects of your separation. Each party is expected to submit this document to his or her lawyer to receive a certificate of ILA (independent legal advice). When the MOU is converted into a Separation Agreement, it can be submitted to the court to obtain a legal divorce.