In a typical divorce mediation session, the couple meets with the mediator, who is a professional trained in conducting mediation. Throughout all mediation sessions, the mediator maintains an impartial perspective and facilitates the couple’s discussion while helping them address issues related to their divorce.
A session may typically last one hour but could be longer, depending on arrangements made and agreed upon ahead of time. In a particular session, the mediator may direct you and your spouse to focus on one or two topics, such as child custody and parenting issues. You can air your views about the topic, identify your interests, find common ground, and arrive at solutions. At the end of the session, the mediator may recapitulate points of agreement reached and suggest the focus for the next mediation session. In this way, you can prepare for the next session by gathering your thoughts and pertinent facts or information.
You and your spouse are encouraged to seek legal advice from your consulting attorneys and use other professionals such as counselors, therapists, divorce coaches, and accountants, as necessary during the mediation process.
Standards for mediation
Couples expect mediators to abide by the guidelines that the American Bar Association has established under the Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation. The model standards encompass a code of conduct for the mediator. The standards require informing you about the purpose of mediation and what it involves, along with evaluating your ability to engage successfully in mediation before getting your agreement to begin the process.
The mediator keeps discussions confidential, only disclosing information if required by law or based on a couple’s agreement. You or your spouse can end or suspend the mediation process at any time – it is a voluntary process. The mediator also has the same right to do so.
By working with an experienced mediator, you may be able to stay on amicable terms and avoid the high emotional and financial costs of litigation.