The Process of Mediation
Mediation begins with the mediator having a one-on-one session with each party. During this meeting, Jenn will explain how mediation works in greater detail and make sure mediation is the right process for you. This one-on-one meeting is a chance for Jenn and the client to ask questions of one another without the other party present, knowing that what is said is confidential. She will gather information about the issues that you want to resolve with the other party, help you articulate what is most important to you and offer some preliminary tips on how to conduct oneself in the mediation. When you leave, you will have a package of materials to review and documents to gather before the first mediation.
Couples doing separation and divorce mediation usually require 1-2 weeks after their pre-mediation session to gather documentation of the family assets and debts. When both parties are ready, Jenn will schedule a first mediation session. Some clients prefer to have one long day and get all their work done on one go. Others prefer to have the mediation work spread over two or three shorter sessions. Separation and divorce mediation can be as short as two or three hours from start to finish. At the end of the mediation/s, Jenn documents the clients’ agreements and each party is provided with a copy of the separation agreement.
how long does it take?
From the time you walk through Jenn’s door for your pre-mediation appointment to the day you have an agreement in hand can be as little as two weeks. The length of time depends on the complexity of the issues to be mediated and the ability of clients to communicate effectively. Even when clients need three or four mediations spread over a month to reach an agreement that works for both of them, mediation is many times more efficient than litigation.
how do i get started?
Talk to your ex-spouse about mediation. Either one of you can call Jenn for a free 15 minute consultation. If you both want to proceed, you just need to each book an individual appointment with Jenn and you’re on your way!
Do I still need to hire a lawyer?
Mediators are trained to provide legal information but cannot give legal advice. Clients of separation/divorce mediation are always recommended to seek independent legal advice, but many choose not to involve lawyers whatsoever. Some clients get legal advice before the first mediation session, some during the mediation and most only after Jenn has written the final agreement. Lawyers will review your agreement from a legal standpoint and can convert it into a legally binding separation agreement. Mediation clients who choose not to consult with lawyers will simply sign their agreement with a witness, then register the agreement in the courthouse. Signed agreements registered at the courthouse are just as legally binding as a court order.