What happens in the mediation process?

The objective of mediation is to reach an agreement on all of the issues presented in the case. For most couples the mediation process requires two or more sessions, with each session lasting two to three hours.

Typically, the first session is spent identifying issues to be addressed in mediation, discussing what documents or other information will be helpful in addressing those issues, and creating a timeline for exchanging documents or information. Sometimes the mediator may suggest that the parties meet with outside professionals, such as appraisers or accountants, to obtain additional information the parties might need to reach an agreement.

At the end of each session the mediator provides the parties with a summary identifying the agreements reached in the session and detailing each party’s “homework” for the next meeting.

When an agreement has been reached on all issues, the mediator prepares a mediation agreement, which is reviewed by the parties and their attorneys, if any. In most cases the parties choose to sign the final agreement to make it binding.