This post is the fourth in a multi part series on divorce mediation, its advantages and disadvantages, how it works, and who it’s best suited for. If you haven’t read parts 1-3 yet, I recommend you do before continuing.
How does divorce mediation work? (continued)
Once the mediation process gets underway it’s common for the mediator to ask each of the parties to describe the situation as they see it. This will help them identify where each party sees potential problems as well as potential solutions.
Next, the mediator will typically set an agenda for the mediation. They will list areas where the parties are in agreement, and areas that need the most negotiation. It’s important to not focus exclusively on where disputes exist, as is often the case when divorcing spouses argue without a neutral party present to intervene. Taking stock of points of agreement is a great way to foster a positive, productive mediation environment.
As the mediation sessions progress, finer details will become important. For example, the mediator will collect relevant information about the parties’ assets, debts, the value of shared property, and more. If the couple needs help determining this information or if they aren’t in agreement about it, a good mediator will bring in outside experts to weigh in.
Generally speaking, a mediator will work with the parties to resolve the simplest issues first. They will combine the facts of the case with their personal experience on how divorce mediation typically goes to determine which disagreements will be easier to solve and which will be more difficult. Starting with smaller accomplishments allows the mediator to further build a productive, trusting environment. This will make things easier down the road when it comes time to negotiate the elements of the divorce where the couples are least in agreement.
Check back soon for The truth of divorce mediation – advantages, disadvantages, how it works, and who it can help the most, part 5. In the meantime, check out our page on divorce mediation.