BEGINNING: To simplify the often confusing process of selecting a professional and a process to end a marriage, I have created a specific mediation process that begins with a brief telephone consultation with both parties. In many cases, the first call is initiated by one spouse, with a follow-up call by the other spouse. We then schedule a joint (for both parties) consultation to determine if mediation is the right process for both parties. Mediation may not be appropriate under certain circumstances, for example if there are issues of domestic abuse, addiction and/or significant coercion issues, or if either party determines that mediation is not the right process , I will refer you to professionals who can assist you. The goal of this first session is to provide the “lay of the land.” We will:
THE NEXT STEPS
If there is financial information to gather, I will send you a link to Family Law Software, a financial program I use to assist in the creation of financial spreadsheets and support options. We will discuss how or if source documents are to be provided. During the course of the mediation process, we will focus on understanding what is important to each of you and what options can be created to resolve the differences. The outcomes are often influenced by trades, interests, and the law.
At the conclusion of the mediation, I will draft a Mediation Memorandum of Agreement detailing the agreements reached. The Memorandum is used to create a Separation Agreement and when there are children, a Parenting Plan.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q. Can you be our lawyer and our mediator?
No. I cannot be a mediator and a lawyer in the same process. My role as a mediator is to to facilitate an agreement through the mediation process. I can provide legal information but not legal advice.
Q. Do we need lawyers, and if so, what is their role if we are mediating the dissolution of our marriage?
I suggest that you each meet with a lawyer during the mediation. A lawyer can only represent one party in a dispute so it is never possible for one lawyer to “represent both sides.” Lawyers often are in the role of “consultants” to the process. A lawyer can provide you with legal advice if and when you choose to seek the same. As most of the work is done in the mediation process, your legal fees should be significantly reduced. If and when you chose to engage a lawyer, I can provide you with names of lawyers who are comfortable working in the mediation process. Here are two common ways in which lawyers work in the mediation process:
Consultant – Consult during the process and draft legal documents
Scribe- Draft the Mediation Memorandum into legal documents