FAQs – Starting Mediation for Your Divorce
When is the best time to begin?
In general, starting mediation is best done sooner rather than later and before you incur the expense and emotional turmoil of litigation. Frequently the spouse who initiated the divorce is ready to begin mediating before the other spouse. Of course both need to be ready and willing to work out a divorce settlement.
Couples enter divorce mediation at many points along the route. Most couples I work with complete mediation of their entire agreement before they file the petition for divorce. Others file the petition, mediate their agreement, and then file the necessary forms and documents with the court to complete the process. Others turn to mediation after becoming dissatisfied with the costs of fighting it out in court.
Can we meet to discuss my case?
Because it is essential that I maintain neutrality (and the appearance of neutrality), I do not meet individually with just one spouse before starting mediation. Typically, I will have a fairly brief phone conversation with each of you for scheduling purposes and then meet you together for an introductory consultation of about half an hour. If we all decide to work together, the mediation process will often begin with separate sessions with each of you in which you can talk with me in detail about your concerns.
What happens at the introductory consultation?
We will talk about mediation and what you can expect from it. I will answer any questions you have about divorcing and mediation and we will talk about costs. You will get a feeling for me as a person, my mediation style and whether you would be comfortable and confident working with me. If you both want to proceed, I will give you my “Agreement to Mediate” and we can schedule your first session(s). For more details, click here.
Is there anything I should do to prepare?
That’s up to you. Since getting divorced is stressful and confusing, becoming more knowledgeable about the divorce process, the types of decisions required and different ways you can go about making them can help you feel more comfortable and confident when starting mediation. An excellent book in this regard is “Using Divorce Mediation” by Katherine E. Stoner. For more details, click here.