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The Mediation Process by Sherie Grayman (attorney and mediator)

A family law mediator is a neutral party specially trained to help couples resolve the issues in their divorce. The mediator facilitates the communication between the parties by making sure each party is given an uninterrupted time to speak, asking a party to restate or explain a point when necessary, and asking questions to make communication clear. The mediator also provides information about the legal system, how issues may be viewed by lawyers or judges, and what alternatives there are for solving issues. When necessary, the mediator will refer the couple to third party experts for services such as financial advisors.
How Does the Process Work?
The couple and the mediator meet in a series of mediation sessions, usually 1 to 1 and half hours long.
The couple and the mediator identify the issues needed to be discussed and the order in which they will be discussed (The Agenda).They then decide what information needs to be gathered and shared. Between the first and later sessions the couple gathers all relevant financial data and /or if necessary, the opinions of experts such as financial advisors ,social workers ,psychologists etc .This information is treated with the same concern as in the litigation process.
Further Meetings: Discussions revolve around how to compromise on the various issues in order to meet the needs of both parties. The mediator assists by providing information about the court system and common ways divorce issues are resolved.
The Agreement: When an agreement has been reached on all issues, the mediator drafts the agreement for review by each of the parties and their attorneys, if any. Parties are entitled to have their own attorneys to advise them through the process. This document is called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Will We Have to Appear in Court?
No court appearances are necessary by either party for/during mediation.
How Long Does Mediation Take?
The complexity of the issues and ability of the individuals to be flexible as they negotiate a fair agreement determines the length of the mediation. Every case is different, but the average case usually takes at least four to six mediation sessions.

Until next time
Sherie

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