The Step by Step Process of Divorce Mediation

Divorcing through Mediation

It is our goal to have both parties actively participate in the Mediation Process. Divorce Mediation can resolve lingering resentments, settle all financial and support matters, and build the communication, cooperation and compromise skills that are necessary to establish a cooperative co-parenting relationship…for the good of the kids. Divorce Mediation sessions are usually once a week.

 A: Starting Together and Finishing Together: 

You meet together with your Family Matters Mediator who will explore the possibility of reconciliation. If divorce seems inevitable, one of you initiates the process by becoming the “Petitioner” on a divorce petition. The Mediator and you will discuss what to request on the divorce petition, such as what legal custody & physical custody designation you want, child support, spousal support, date of separation, and what community property or separate property should be listed. Our Legal Document Assistant prepares and files the initial documents.

During your first Divorce Mediation session, you may make preliminary agreements on parenting time and financial support. You will also learn how to put structure back into your lives, how to interact with each other peacefully, and how to care for your children during and after divorce.

At the next appointment, the Divorce Mediator will hand each of you the filed divorce documents. By doing so, the other party, called the Respondent, is “served”. No marshals, no surprises.

During this and other Divorce Mediation sessions, you will discuss child custody, parenting time schedules (we don’t use the term “Visitation”, although the court still does sometimes), child and spousal support or alimony, finances, living arrangements, division of assets and debts and so forth. Your Divorce Mediator will guide you with sensitivity and knowledge to fair, equitable agreements that are in the best interests of your children. You will have as many sessions as it takes to reach an agreement on every issue. Our Arbitration Attorney stands by for legal advice. Once both of you approve and sign the Marital Settlement Agreement (sometimes called Stipulated Judgment), we file it and the rest of the required documents with the court. What’s left is waiting for the judge to approve your judgment, grant your divorce and mail the divorce decree to you.

 B: Starting Alone, Finishing Together:

Your Spouse doesn’t want to participate in Divorce Mediation yet, so you start the divorce process alone. Our Legal Document Assistant will prepare and file the Divorce Petition for you. We will call your soon-to-be ex and encourage them to participate in divorce mediation. Depending on your relationship, separate mediation appointments may be appropriate. If your spouse is open to mediation, the process is the same as in Approach A. Sometimes, a spouse needs to see that a Petition for Divorce has been filed to take you seriously, or they determine that mediation is worth a try after talking to an attorney.

C: Starting Alone, Finishing Alone:

We can file the divorce petition (or response to a petition that was filed by your spouse) for you, and guide you through the entire process, even without their cooperation or participation. If they have a lawyer, and it appears that they are attempting to gain an unfair advantage over you, we’ll suggest a lawyer for your protection. Otherwise we are comfortable mediating with an attorney who is representing the other party.