The Mediation Process
The mediation process will vary for every family. However, if the parties intend to use mediation exclusively, the general steps will likely be:
1. Initial mediation consultation
Tamarah will meet with the parties to discuss the mediation process and to determine whether mediation is appropriate to meet their goals, values, needs and priorities. She will educate the parties about the nature of mediation, including the role of the mediator, the confidentiality of the process, the rights of the parties, and fees. Although she will not provide legal advice to either party, she may provide the parties with general legal information to assist them in making decisions. The parties will review the mediation agreement and Tamarah will answer any questions they may have.
2. First mediation session
If both parties agree to proceed with mediation, they will sign the mediation agreement. Tamarah will help them to identify the issues that need to be discussed, and prioritize the order in which they will be addressed. Between the first and subsequent mediation sessions, the parties will gather all relevant financial data, and if necessary, the opinions of neutral experts such as real estate appraisers or forensic accountants.
3. Initiation of legal action
Tamarah will prepare the initial court paperwork to initiate the divorce or separation proceedings. The parties may choose to obtain independent outside legal counsel for consultation as the mediation proceeds.
4. Subsequent sessions
The mediation will proceed in a series of 2-3 hour sessions over a period of weeks or months, to be scheduled at the parties’ convenience. At these sessions, the discussion will focus on the parties’ interests as well as generating and evaluating ideas and options for resolving various issues in order to meet the needs of both parties. If children are involved, we will address how the parties will co-parent the children in the future. The number of sessions required will vary depending on the complexity of the issues as well as the ability of the parties to efficiently come to agreements. Following each mediation session, Tamarah will prepare and provide each party with a written summary of agreements reached.
5. Independent legal review
Once the parties have reached a comprehensive tentative agreement, Tamarah will draft a document memorializing the settlement terms for the parties to review with independent legal counsel. This ensures that both parties are adequately represented and helps improve the enforceability of the agreement over time.
6. Final filings
After the parties have obtained independent legal review of the settlement agreement, Tamarah will finalize the agreement or other orders so that they may be filed in court and become legally binding. If the parties agree, she will prepare and file all other court documents to finalize the case.