How does mediation work?

 The mediation process involves a three-way conversation with the aim of understanding the problem and crafting durable solutions. Most family mediations deal with at least one of the following: co-parenting, financial support and dividing marital assets.

General overview

I. Process and Roles

  • Parties are encouraged to talk about expectations, concerns and goals for the process (they needn't be the same). Agreeing on facts is not essential.

  • Mediator offers vision of the process and his role in it, elicits concerns and seeks mutual understanding of how the parties and mediator will work together.

  • Parties review and sign 'agreement to mediate' confirming the previous discussion.

II. Identify Key issues & set the agenda

  • Gather & share information

  • Define the problem(s)

  • Focus on what each views as important 

III. Working Through the Problem

  • Develop greater understanding of needs and interests

  • Generate movement when an impasse is reached.

  • Brainstorming options for mutually satisfactory solutions.

iV.  If the parties reach an agreement..

..on all or some of the issues, the mediator or legal professional may memorialize their understanding in writing.

  • A settlement agreement is drafted based on the terms of the mediated agreement. The agreement will become binding on the parties only after each signs it. If divorcing, the agreement may be submitted to the court and incorporated into a final decree of divorce.