Although each divorce mediator follows a different approach, there are six basic divorce mediation steps: 1) introductions 2) the couple’s statement of the problem(s) 3) gathering information 4) identifying the problem(s) 5) Considering all options 6) finalizing an agreement.
Step 1: Introductions
During the preliminary consultation, the couple and the mediator will meet in a comfortable setting (usually the mediator’s office or in a conference room) so each spouse will not feel threatened. Children will not be present. The mediator will discuss the couple’s role in this process regarding the issues as well as expressing the neutrality on this matter. A discussion about the guidelines and time frame for mediation will be held.
The duration of the mediation process varies from couple to couple depending on their finances and if there are children in the marriage. Typically, mediation will require between two to five 2-hour long sessions spread over a month or two. However, this process may take longer if the couple engages other neutral third parties, such as accountants or financial planners.
Step 2: Couple’s Statement of the Problem(s)
The mediator will provide the opening statement followed by each spouse telling their story or stating the problem(s) in their marriage or family. In the mediator’s judgment, this statement by each spouse is an attempt to resolve the issues, rather than seek the truth.
Step 3: Gathering Information
The mediator will question the couple and summarize all ideas in order to establish a good rapport between the spouses.
Step 4: Identifying the Problem(s)
This step refers to the common goals shared between the couple. The mediator will determine which issues will be settled or settled first.
Step 5: Considering All Options/Finalizing an Agreement
The caucus is the most commonly used method in generating options, The caucus allows the couple to explore their options to bring about all potential solutions. (In a caucus, each spouse meets separately with the mediator to express their concerns or opinions.) Once negotiations are completed, the mediator will write the agreement, and in most cases, a parenting plan—all of which will be entered into the divorce judgment.