How does mediation work?

Mediation often commences with the parties completing separate intake forms, after which an individual meeting is scheduled with each (if the couple has representation, a pre-mediation conference call with the lawyers can be scheduled as well). The purpose of meeting with each party is to assess whether the case is suitable for mediation, to determine how best to structure the process, and to identify the issues in the case that need to be resolved and the order in which they will be discussed.

Following the first meeting, the parties collect all relevant financial documents, as well as any necessary opinions from experts (accountants, appraisers, etc.). With the aid of these confidential materials, subsequent sessions work towards compromise and an arrangement viewed as satisfactory by both spouses. Regardless of how many additional sessions are required, the mediator’s job is always to be an impartial facilitator, guiding the parties’ progress, helping them find common ground and explore creative solutions.

In most cases, the parties will be in the same room for the bulk of mediation and will only engage separately in specific circumstances. However, there are some cases in which it is preferable or necessary for the parties to be apart. This is referred to as shuttle mediation.

Why Should I Choose Mediation?

Choosing a dispute resolution process like mediation can help avoid the anguish associated with a Court proceeding and smooth the way for a solution that offers lasting peace of mind.

Around 95% of divorce cases settle before trial. For the remaining 5%, going to Court is like rolling the dice; you’re granting a stranger – typically limited in their understanding of your family – the power to make decisions about your children, your assets, and your future. You are a passenger, with very little say in the outcome, at the mercy of variables beyond your control: how the evidence comes out, which judge is hearing the matter, how your lawyer performs on the day. With mediation, the parties are always in the driver’s seat. There are more options available, and more creative solutions to meet your family’s needs. Decisions are made together, leading to more durable and workable agreements.

That’s how mediation works. Take away the ‘how’ and you are left with the most important point of all: Mediation works.