What to Expect in Separation Mediation
After the intake/contracting conversation (where parties sign an Agreement to Mediate), the lead mediator will set up initial individual appointments with both you and your ex, separately, to prepare for mediation. The purpose of these individual conversations is to explore, in a confidential setting, what is important to you, what concerns would like to discuss and to gather information about what you need to consider in mediation. This helps prepare both you and the mediators for the joint conversation.
During the individual conversations, the lead mediator will ask each party separately about areas of perceived agreement and about issues that remain outstanding and need to be addressed. This meeting allows for confidential sharing about some of the issues, problems or concerns that either party is experiencing or anticipating going forward. It is also an opportunity to identify goals for the future, helping you focus on what is most important to you.
Some of the additional information gathered during the initial conversations includes:
- Full names and birthdates of all relevant parties
- Date of marriage and separation
- Children’s names and birthdates
- Parenting plans
- Spousal support
- Individual and joint financial information
- Division of marital property
Once the parties have been interviewed individually, the mediator will prepare a very rough draft of the settlement terms based on the individual discussions. The purpose of the draft agreement is to provide an agenda for the joint discussion when both parties are present with the lead and co-mediator. If there are areas of disagreement, those issues will be left blank on the draft and discussed in the joint session. The goal of the joint conversation is for you and your partner to come to mutually satisfactory separation terms.
At the conclusion of the mediation process, the mediators will draft a report that summarizes your conversation and overviews the terms that you have agreed to in mediation. This report can then be taken to a lawyer for finalization and submission to the court.
Throughout the process you will also be advised to seek out independent legal counsel to ensure that you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. We, as mediators, cannot and will not advise you on any areas of the law.