Although mediation is generally considered to be the “calm” route to finalization, it still brings anxiety to those contemplating divorce. The pain and emotions of divorce don’t simply fade away, after all. But if you know what to expect from the divorce mediation process, you can walk into your first session with a bit less anxiety.
If you’re going through mediation for an Orange County divorce, there are five core stages your mediator will navigate you through. Get familiar with the process, and request a consultation if you’re ready and willing to mediate.
Orange County Divorce Mediation: A 5-Stage Process
1. Opening Statements
Your divorce mediator will start with some introductions and rapport, before diving into the goals and rules for the session. This is to establish a calm, collaborative environment and defuse any present tension. After some small talk, you and your spouse will give an opening statement.
These statements should paint a clear picture of your side of the marriage and any consequences you experienced. Throughout this stage, it’s key that you and your spouse refrain from interrupting each other’s statements.
2. Joint Discussions
After you and your spouse provide opening statements, you’ll likely discuss what was presented in those statements. In this stage, your mediator will ask open-ended questions about your marriage to gain some context. This joint discussion is meant to build dialogue, identify issues, and brainstorm solutions.
Your joint discussion could pertain to marital assets, property division, or even an undesirable custody agreement. No matter the circumstances, it’s crucial to stay calm during the joint discussion. Stay level-headed, wait your turn to speak, and try your best to respond without anger.
3. Private Mediator Discussions
Once you’ve carried through joint discussions, you’ll meet with your mediator privately. You’ll likely meet with your mediator in a separate room than your spouse, with the mediator moving between rooms to discuss your positions.
Through these private discussions, your mediator will note the strengths and weaknesses of each position, show you what’s at stake, and how your case would look to an unbiased person. Alongside joint discussions, divorce mediators commonly begin brainstorming solutions in this stage.
When you and your spouse are ready to settle, your divorce mediator will schedule a time to negotiate a settlement. During this stage, the solutions brainstormed during joint and private discussions will be discussed and agreed upon.
This stage is notably delicate; if you and your spouse aren’t yet ready to settle, and you enter negotiations too soon, you risk returning to square one. Rather than prolonging the process, ensure that you and your spouse are willing and able to negotiate.
5. The Settlement
Following negotiations, you’ll progress to the settlement. If one can’t be reached, your divorce mediator will help you decide whether to try again or proceed to trial. If a settlement is reached, you and your spouse will sign the marital agreement to be enforced by the court.
Now that you know what to expect, you can enter your initial mediation session without a sense of anxiety or aimlessness. Just remember to refrain from interrupting your spouse during opening statements, and not to enter negotiations too soon. If you and your spouse feel that mediation can more effectively settle your Orange County divorce, call our offices for an immediate consultation.
Mediate Your Orange County Divorce with Jennifer Owens, Esq.
Avoid the fears associated with divorce litigation by opting for a more collaborative route: mediation. At the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens, we revel in the power of choice. When spouses face divorce, they’re presented with a slew of decisions with a handful of potential outcomes. Our attorneys are believers in the best possible outcome, where a former couple chooses peace over destruction, so that they can finally move onto their next chapter. No matter your desired path – mediation, a negotiated settlement, or even litigation – The Law Offices of Jennifer Owens will help you achieve the best possible outcome by reaching a settlement that keeps all involved parties in mind. Visit our website to review our family law services or contact us online for a free consultation.