How Does Divorce Mediation Work?

Divorce mediation is an alternative to divorce court. It's generally less expensive than going to court and the outcomes of divorce mediation are often more successful than rulings made by a court. Although divorce mediation won't work for everyone, couples who can make divorce arrangements through mediation may be better off doing so. If you're thinking about pursuing divorce mediation services, knowing what happens during mediation and how the process works may help.

Before Mediation Begins

In the days before your first mediation sessions begin, you'll have a meeting with your lawyer. He or she will prep you on the issues. Take notes during your meetings with your lawyer to have something to bring with you to your sessions. This can help you feel comfortable during the process. It's generally best not to bring your lawyer with you during mediation, so having these meetings and discussing the issues ahead of time is important.

During the First Session

During your first mediation session, your mediator will give you and your divorcing spouse an orientation to mediation. Your mediator will tell you about the processes, tell you what to expect and then he or she will help you and your divorcing spouse establish goals for mediation. The issues at hand during the divorce—like children, finances and property--are identified in this meeting.

Once the first meeting is over, it will be your responsibility to gather all the relevant paperwork for future topics to be discussed during mediation. Your divorce mediator will tell you what needs to be brought, and your lawyer may be able to advise you on this as well. Having the proper paperwork for your divorce mediation meetings will help ensure that your mediation sessions are as productive as possible.

Second and Third Meetings, and On

Following that first meeting, there will be a series of mediation sessions during which you and your spouse work out the big issues during your divorce. These issues might be child custody issues, division of property and other matters. The goal of the mediation sessions will be to find a solution that works for everyone. Different couples will be happy with different outcomes. That is one of the great advantages of divorce mediation—unlike court judgments, which are sweeping and generally decided based on rigid laws, mediation sessions can solve the divorce settlement in a way that is specific to the couple and their needs.

When Mediation Ends

Mediation is over when a final agreement has been decided for both parties. You'll be given a copy of the agreement for signature. You'll be able to take this document to your attorney before signing it.

For more information about how divorce mediation works, or other questions about divorce mediation, contact a professional service such as Mitchell Mediation Service.