It’s important to be 100 percent clear on how the divorce mediation process works. This allows you to make all the right decisions along the way, while preventing costly mistakes.
Knowing what to expect from a divorce mediator is critical, as this knowledge positions you for success.
A divorce mediator does not have the same power as a family law judge. Rather than make legally binding decisions on behalf of the couple, a mediator is staffed with the following responsibilities:
- Facilitate communication to ensure that both individuals have the opportunity to speak and share their feelings
- Ask for clarification, when necessary
- Explain the finer details of the law, such as how the court system deals with particular divorce-related issues
- Identify alternative solutions to solving problems
- Answer questions as they arise throughout the process
- Keep the peace when tensions run high
While no two divorce mediators take the exact same approach, you can expect all of them to touch on the points above in some way.
The first meeting
During the first meeting, all parties involved sit down with the mediator to identify issues and determine the best way to proceed.This is your time to lay everything out on the table, so don’t hesitate to share your feelings.
The first meeting is also when the mediator will tell you what types of documents to gather before future sessions. For example, you may need to create a property division checklist and collect bank statements and tax returns.
If you’re able to reach an agreement on all issues, your mediator can draft the appropriate documents for review by both individuals.
In the event that you’re unsuccessful, your mediator will provide advice on the next steps in the process, which typically include litigation.