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What to Expect at Mediation

Joseph A. DeWoskin, P.C. Sept. 4, 2023

A Man Holds Wooden Blocks with The Word MediatorWhen couples want to end their marriage, part of the divorce process may include mediation. Mediation is one of the most popular alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods that help couples take control of their situation and work together toward a mutually beneficial resolution.  

While mediation is most of the time voluntary, courts may sometimes order couples to mediate their disputes during the divorce process. Either way, before you attend mediation, it is important to understand what to expect during the process. Attorney DeWoskin can explain what happens at every step of mediation to help you move through the process efficiently and with greater certainty.  

Joseph A. DeWoskin, P.C. is based in Kansas City, Kansas, but also serves the surrounding areas, including Johnson, Wyandotte, and Leavenworth counties in Kansas, as well as Jackson, Platte, Clay, and Cass counties in Missouri.  

Understanding Divorce Mediation  

Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method for couples who wish to control the outcome of their divorce and find solutions through cooperation. Mediation allows both spouses to work together to reach an agreement with the help of a mediator.  

Mediators are neutral, third-party professionals whose main responsibility is to facilitate negotiation between the parties, rather than make decisions for them. A mediator merely guides the divorcing couples to help them reach a mutually acceptable settlement of their dispute. Couples often prefer mediation as a faster, less expensive, and less contentious alternative to the traditional divorce process.  

Preparing for Divorce Mediation  

If you and your spouse have decided to try mediation or you were ordered by the court to mediate your disputes, you need to understand what you can and should do to prepare for your upcoming mediation session: 

  • Gather necessary documents and information. An essential step in preparing for divorce mediation is gathering the necessary records, documentation, and materials that may assist you in resolving your disputes.  

  • Identify the disputes to be addressed during mediation. Take the time to identify and write down the points of contention to ensure that all disputes are addressed during mediation sessions.  

  • Set goals and boundaries. While it may be a good idea to approach mediation with a flexible mindset, it is still vital to have specific goals in mind. Think about what is it that you are trying to achieve through mediation and what you will not be willing to accept no matter what.     

  • Prepare your arguments. It is also imperative that you clearly articulate your arguments before the mediation session is held. Gather all supporting evidence and documentation that may strengthen your arguments.  

  • Seek legal counsel. An experienced attorney can provide you with advice and guidance tailored to your specific circumstances when preparing for mediation. Proper preparation with legal counsel could significantly increase your chances of achieving a satisfactory outcome.  

Attorney DeWoskin helps divorcing couples in Kansas and Missouri reach amicable and peaceful divorce settlements by avoiding the financial and emotional toll of litigation. He helps clients understand how they can properly prepare for mediation and explains exactly what is required of them when awaiting their first mediation session, so reach out today for support.  

What Happens During the Mediation Session? 

Typically, divorce mediation can be broken down into three stages:  

1. Attending the Session 

Once the parties have taken the necessary steps to prepare for mediation, the next step is attending the session. Mediation can be held either virtually or in person. Before the session begins, the mediator will establish the ground rules and set expectations for the parties. The mediator’s job includes establishing and maintaining a cooperative atmosphere between the parties. At the beginning of the session, each party and their attorneys will have an opportunity to make opening statements in which the parties usually identify the major points of contention.  

2. Negotiating 

During the negotiation stage, the mediator goes back and forth between the parties in separate rooms to convey their offers and counteroffers to drive the dispute to a resolution. The goal of such “shuttle” diplomacy is to help the parties find a resolution that is mutually acceptable. Even if the parties are unable to reach a full agreement, a partial agreement could still be helpful as it limits the number of unresolved issues in the case.  

When negotiations reach an impasse, parties may consider taking their dispute to court. However, if you are represented by an attorney during mediation, your attorney could help you achieve a fair, reasonable, and balanced agreement to avoid a costly and time-consuming trial.  

Your attorney can facilitate effective communication, identify shared goals between the parties, protect your best interests, and ensure that you are able to manage your emotions and make rational decisions. You and your attorney can also discuss potential outcomes for each issue before signing a settlement agreement.  

3. Concluding Mediation 

After the parties have reached a mutually agreed solution on all disputed issues, the mediator will assist them with drafting a settlement agreement, which will outline the terms of the settlement. You might want to have your attorney go through the agreement before signing it to ensure that everything is correct and in order. If necessary, your attorney may advise you to make necessary revisions before the agreement is finalized.  

Here for You When Life Gets Tough 

Mediation can be a more effective and less adversarial approach to resolving disputes when ending a marriage. Attorney DeWoskin helps divorcing couples in Kansas and Missouri settle their differences and reach a mutually beneficial and lasting agreement. Reach out to Joseph A. DeWoskin, P.C. to request a meeting with Attorney DeWoskin and discuss your situation.