A Structured Approach

Jan 7, 2022

Based on my experience in working with couples who are divorcing, a common goal is to complete the divorce mediation process as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. However, it’s always hard to predict (in terms of number of sessions and overall time) how long it will take to complete the mediation process.

In my divorce mediation practice, I emphasize a structured approach. . . A structured mediation begins by providing you with tools that you can use to prepare for your mediation sessions

In my divorce mediation practice, I emphasize a structured approach. “Structure” is, in a single word, the mainstay of what I want to bring to you. After all, most clients who work with me have never experienced divorce, don’t necessarily know what it entails, and will explain that their expectation of the mediator is to help them figure out what they need to do in order to end their marriage.

A structured mediation begins by providing you with tools that you can use to prepare for your mediation sessions. Here are some of those tools:

  1. A list of financial documents, prepared ahead of time
    Financial disclosure is essential to transparency. Without knowledge of the assets, debts and sources of income within a marriage, informed decision making involving financial topics cannot occur.
  2. A comprehensive list of divorce mediation topicsKnowing what will be discussed in mediation can be helpful for several reasons. It will allow you to think about a topic ahead of time so you can be ready to express your thoughts about how the topic should be addressed, whether it relates to parenting, the division of assets and debts, or financial support arrangements. For some clients who communicate well without a mediator, a list of topics may permit you to reach tentative agreements ahead of time, to present at mediation, so any logistical or implementation issues can be addressed.
  3. A parenting-plan outline
    The parenting plan you will complete in mediation addresses decision making, parenting time and co-parenting guidelines. Many parenting plans have similar provisions, with some tailoring to meet the specific needs of each family. An outline provides a starting point, understanding that, especially as it relates to parenting time, each family will create a different schedule.
  4. Budgeting worksheets
    One of many goals of divorce mediation is to create plans that will result in both households being financially sustainable. A budget affords the opportunity to each of you to estimate future income and expenses. Such budgets can illustrate how one household may struggle financially while the other may not. This information can help frame a conversation about necessary financial support arrangements (child support, maintenance) and how those can produce sustainability in both households.

By employing these tools at the outset of mediation, the seeds of a structured mediation process are planted. This often helps you hit the ground running at the initial session, giving you confidence that the mediation won’t be endless.