If you are looking to hire a divorce mediator, you’re probably wondering what to expect at divorce mediation.
Ian Shann has been a nationally accredited mediator since 2008 and has developed a thorough divorce mediation process that helps separating couples to sort out their issues without having to resort to costly lawyers and the Family Court system.
Here’s what to expect at divorce mediation when you choose Move On Mediation to help you.
What Happens Before Your Divorce Mediation?
Once you have appointed a family mediator and agreed a date for the mediation, a detailed Agreement to Mediate and invoice for the fixed mediation fee will be sent to you. Once signed, returned and the fee paid your divorce mediation will be confirmed.
A day or two before the mediation, each spouse will attend an intake session separately, during which the process will be explained and any questions answered. It is advisable for each spouse to have prepared a “wish list” of the outcomes they would ideally like to achieve, raise any anticipated issues of dispute and how they propose to resolve them. During intake sessions, each spouse can also ask what documents (pay slips, bank statements, investments, etc.) they may need to bring to the mediation.
Intake sessions are vital to the entire divorce mediation process, as they provide the mediator a clear understanding of the situation from both parties, enabling him/her to offer pragmatic and meaningful advice and guidance to both parties to achieve an amicable settlement. All conversations during the intake session, remain strictly confidential and will not be divulged to the other party throughout the entire mediation process.
What Happens During Your Divorce Mediation?
Both parties sit down with the mediator (together or in separate rooms, or even via telephone or video conferencing) and earnest discussions commence. By this stage, the mediator will have a clear picture of the situation and may put forward suggestions to both spouses to consider.
Each unresolved issue will be discussed and negotiated, until they are all agreed upon by both parties. Mediators will never try to pressure anyone to agree to any term. They do not take sides, but offer impartial guidance to both parties to enable them to make their own decisions.
Each spouse can take as long as they need to think each point through, and they have the choice of seeking further legal advice from their own lawyer, if they wish. All that is required is for both spouses to remain truthful and open during the process, be willing to negotiate, and focus on the future by ending the marriage as painlessly as possible and not dwelling in the past.
All disputes are usually resolved in one mediation session but, in some complicated cases, more may be required.
What Happens If We Reach An Agreement?
Reaching an agreement is obviously the ultimate goal for divorcing couples. By settling all disputes and reaching a negotiated agreement, both parties would have avoided the unnecessary lengthy and costly process of going through the Court.
When agreement is reached, the mediator will draw up the Agreement, which can be signed, or taken to an independent lawyer for a second opinion. Once signed by both parties, the parties can submit it to the Court for approval to become legally binding. A mediator may not act for the parties (or one of them ) in this final step of seeking the Court’s approval.
What Happens If We Don’t Reach An Agreement?
Although the vast majority of cases are settled amicably through divorce mediation, there is always the possibility of not resolving all your differences. In that case, the only other alternative may be for you to appoint lawyers to take the issues to the Family Court, where a Judge will make the final decision for you after months and probably years of Court action.
This of course could become a lengthy, financially and emotionally draining period for the whole family – something everyone should do their utmost to avoid.
At Move On Mediation, our goal is to reduce the level of stress of divorcing through the courts by helping both spouses to properly prepare, by explaining exactly what is required of them, paving the way towards a quick and amicable settlement, thus allowing them to move on with their lives as painlessly as possible.
We hope this blog has explained what to expect at divorce mediation, but if you have any more questions, you can call Ian now for an obligation-free, confidential discussion or get in touch online.