Parties Only Present
The majority of divorce mediations take place in what are called “parties only” sessions. In this type of session, the parties meet with the mediator without their attorneys present. The attorneys are used as counselors or coaches in between sessions.
The attorneys do not negotiate for the parties or participate in mediation and the parties gather the necessary information to resolve the case. The parties agree that they will not allow their attorneys to file any motions, petitions etc. while they are in the mediation process.
1. Individual Introductory Sessions
Each party has an initial introductory session with the mediator. In this individual introductory session they will learn more about the process, gain a comfort level with the mediator, discuss their concerns and goals for the process, and obtain homework that they will need to complete prior to the first joint session.
2. Joint Sessions
After the individual introductory sessions are completed, the mediator will schedule the parties to come in for their first joint session. Joint sessions are scheduled for two hour blocks of time. At the initial joint session, the parties shall determine what issues they need to resolve in mediation. Any immediate issues shall be addressed and the parties shall prioritize the other issues. Sessions shall be scheduled every other week, which allows parties to have time to gather any needed information, speak with their attorneys, and to make decisions from a calm intellectual place.
3. Mediation Memo
After each session, the mediator shall send out a Mediation Memo to both the parties and their attorneys. This Memo shall summarize where the parties are at in negotiations, anything that needs to be discussed with their attorneys, any homework that needs to be done before the next session, and any issues that have been resolved. This Memo is not binding, but serves as a reference point for parties and attorneys. Once the issues contained in the Memo are complete, it will be used to create the Marriage Settlement Agreement.