The divorce mediation process is voluntary.
The divorce mediation process is conflict averse.
In the divorce mediation process you make your own decisions and the mediator is simply there to help guide you to where you want to go.
However long it takes you to decide how you want to organize your affairs, will determine the amount of hours spent in mediation and therefore the cost of the mediation.
The divorce mediation process and the time that it takes to reach a settlement is completely in your hands.
Some people believe that the 1st person to speak to the mediator will have an unfair advantage in the mediation. This is simply not true. The mediator’s role is to be neutral and to evenly represent both parties in the divorce. No matter which party calls me 1st, I will always suggest that I speak to the other party before the 1st meeting.
I believe it is better for me to explain the divorce mediation process to the other spouse to avoid distrust of the process. Unfortunately it is not unusual that both parties are in a situation where the trust between them has, if not disappeared completely, has dissipated to a large degree. As a result, they can no longer hear what the other person actually is saying, but hear what they think the other person is saying.
The main purpose of these complimentary individual consultations is to ensure that both people are comfortable with the divorce mediation process, and that they do not feel that they will be pushed or railroaded into any decisions that will be bad for them. If everyone knows they are in the mediation on a completely voluntary basis with the true intention of settling their matter, they are then in the correct mental position to begin mediation.
Once I have had the opportunity to speak with both individuals, the next step is to meet with both parties to sign the mediation retainer. At this point I explain the rules of mediation and outline what will be covered in the joint sessions.