On the day of your mediation, your mediator will check in with each of you privately to see if anything has changed and to see how comfortable you would be being in the same room. Although we generally mediate in the same room, especially when parenting is being worked out, you can mediate in different rooms or back and forth between these two approaches. We have some tips on how to prepare for mediation and how to act during mediation.
Prior to your mediation session you will be asked to sign the Agreement to Mediate. This is an important contract between you both and the mediator that allows your conversations to be private.
Your mediator is skilled at helping the two of you have a difficult conversation in a new way. The mediator will guide the “process”, for example directing you to take turns, listen to each other carefully, helping each of you hear the other persons perspective. The mediator will encourage the two of you to come up with solutions and help you to come up with options if you get stuck. Some people describe mediation as “issue” based, rather than “rights” based. For this reason mediated agreements can include agreements on things that a court may not get involved with. You can be creative. Whatever matters to you matters to us.
Some mediations get completed in one session, but others may take a few more. The mediator may give you some ‘homework’, or time to think about options, or receive legal advice after the first session. Each situation is different. You may receive a Progress Note after each session that will document your progress and any homework.
When the mediation is complete, the mediator will prepare your Mediation Report indicating in detail what you both agreed to in mediation. If you want a legally binding agreement, a lawyer would put it into minutes of settlement if you are in the court system or prepare a legal separation agreement if you are not. Your mediator will explain these options more fully to you when you get to this point.