We normally begin with both parties together in our first session. Why? We have sufficient experience to manage most initial meetings this way and it is more efficient and less costly than individual and separate first meetings. Most of our clients seem to appreciate and prefer this approach.
On occasion, we may recommend, or you may prefer that both parties meet individually with us before a joint session. (This can be especially helpful with longstanding and higher conflict situations when there is substantial history that one or both parties wish to discuss privately or when there are issues of partner violence or abuse and security concerns.
We generally are able to schedule a first joint session one to two weeks after our complimentary consultation. In this session:
- We discuss what your mediation process may look like.
- You share your immediate concerns and your perspective on the “big picture” of your divorce, legal separation, post-divorce or parenting dispute. This may include the mediator asking questions and your discussion of the relevant items in your situation.
- We then agree on a flexible agenda based on your needs and designed to work through the relevant issues.
- Last, we explain the court process and timelines to assist you in understanding the process and we explain how we file all the necessary court documents for you. You may never need to go to the court or attend a hearing or see the judge, unless you choose to do so. This saves both your valuable time and cost of the emotional turmoil of such appearances.
We then assist you to begin the real work of discussing options and developing an agreement on all necessary matters such as Financial issues, Parenting Issues and Support Issues. Often, we provide additional “homework” to assist you in preparing for the next session.