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Simplify it: What are the steps of the mediation process?

Who wouldn't want to avoid the intense emotional and financial process of divorce when they can opt for mediation? The problem is that many couples wonder, "Will mediation really work for us?" Every case will have some difficult emotions to navigate and some complicated financial aspects, but most couples can still find mediation preferable.

The process of mediation occurs when an attorney guides communication between two parties. The attorney will make sure that each party has their fair share of time to speak and will ask questions to clarify points for each person. The attorney will help the couple by providing legal information and refer experts when necessary. Although the process can work for most couples it is smart to do some research before diving in. Here are the simple steps to the mediation process:

Step one: the initial meeting

The couple and the attorney meet and they go over the major concerns and how they will be addressed. This meeting is meant to be an introductory to the process and evaluation of each person's needs. During this meeting the attorney will help identify the information that needs to be gathered in order to get to the next step.

Step two: go home and gather the numbers

After the initial meeting with the mediator the couple will go home and find all the requested financial data. An attorney will ask for information about tax returns, bank account statements, the price of the home, any assets, stocks and bonds, outstanding loans, etc. This information is needed for any type of separation and the more information you can have ready the quicker the process will go.

Step three: another round of meetings to resolve remaining issues

During the next few meetings the attorney will help both parties with legal guidance and facilitate difficult communication. This is where the process will differ for every person. For some couples it only takes one more quick meeting to decide their separation while other more complicated cases take some careful decision making. Either way an attorney should be happy to help you compromise and meet everyone's needs.

Step four: draft and sign the agreement

Once everyone has come to an understanding the attorney will draft an agreement. They will present the agreement to each party for review and signing. They can also help you with all the complicated follow up paperwork including dissolution of marriage action, disclosure documents, judgments, and the final papers.

The mediation process can be less of a headache compared to a divorce if you are prepared. Even complicated cases and highly emotional parties can work together in mediation with an experienced attorney at your side. The right mediator will help both parties come to agreement and walk away satisfied.

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