Understanding the Divorce Mediation Process

27954157_s-300x200Divorcing couples who wish to easily find resolutions to issues related to divorce, such as child custody and spousal support, undergo a step-by-step process of mediation. Mediation is an alternative to the costly, lengthy and formal divorce court process.

Divorce mediation is facilitated by a mediator, an impartial and third-party professional who acts as an intermediary and helps couples come to an agreement on their divorce-related issues.

There are six steps involved in divorce mediation:

Introductions and process overview is the first step in a divorce mediation process. The mediator makes it a point that both parties are fully aware that going through mediation is a voluntary and consensual process, and that mediation is beneficial to all parties. The mediator also makes it very clear that he/she is impartial, and that all parties involved in the process are bound by the rule of confidentiality, including the mediator.

After the introductions, each party takes turns in making an opening statement about the issues related to their divorce, as well as their positions on the issues they are facing. This step allows the mediator to know the concerns to be tackled and the resolutions to seek.

Once the opening statements have been given by each spouse, both parties are placed by the mediator in separate rooms. The mediator will have a private meeting with each spouse to discuss each issue that has been brought up and the possible resolutions. The mediator communicates a lot at this point.

The gathered information is summarized by the mediator from time to time to keep both spouses updated. The mediator may also ask several questions to gain a better understanding of issues and positions of both parties.

Often times, common goals are achieved after thorough discussions. The mediator assists both parties in identifying the best ways to resolve divorce-related issues.

The mediator provides assistance to both spouses in reaching common ground wherein the resolutions on certain issues are obtained. The divorce mediator prepares a mediation agreement that contains the complete and binding resolution of the tackled divorce-related issues. The mediation agreement is then signed by both spouses including their respective lawyers, if any.

In a divorce mediation wherein divorcing parties are not able to reach an agreement, the mediator reports to the court, without any comment or recommendation, that the parties have not reached an agreement.