The mediator works with both parties to help them understand the law, reach agreeable solutions and develop a complete marital settlement agreement. Mediation emphasizes the identifying of issues and settling of disputes, rather than finding fault or blame. The goal of the process is for the parties to reach an equitable, fair, and mutually satisfying agreement.
In the first session, the attorney-mediator generally goes over the ground rules for the Divorce Mediation process and reviews the mediation agreement. The parties are introduced to the divorce mediation process through a discussion defining the roles of the mediator and the role of the parties in the Divorce Mediation process. The most important role of the mediator is to be neutral. The mediator’s role is also to provide constructive suggestions and solutions to resolve conflict as well as to explain the law to the parties. The divorce mediator also assists the parties in identifying their goals and helps them to prepare a mission statement for their co-parent agreement.
The mediator explains that one of the parties most important role is to understand their obligation to each other as fiduciaries. A fiduciary has a special obligation of trust to disclose all information about the assets debts, income and expenses. The failure to disclose or lack of proper disclosure can create a voidable agreement. The attorney-mediator provides an explanation of the legal process involved in obtaining a divorce. The mediator encourages everyone to participate at a level that both parties feel heard. Conflict between the parties may arise. When this happens a creative mediator will take the opportunity to utilize the conflict to help the parties understand any underlying issues and to bring the parties from conflict to resolution and agreement.
Disclosure is a very important part of mediation. With the guidance of a mediator, the parties disclose all information with regard to custody, financial information, and property division. Parties learn techniques for resolving difficult conflicts, they learn to evaluate their present financial condition, and to provide for their future financial needs.