At the first session, the parties talk about their reasons for seeking mediation, and the divorce mediator provides the parties with a detailed outline of how the mediation process works. At this session, the mediator will also set forth guidelines for the mediation process. The parties and the mediator will identify the information that needs to be exchanged and discuss and agree upon any necessary ground rules.
The parties and the mediator will specify each of the issues to be resolved. On an issue by issue basis, the mediator will attempt to understand as fully as possible each party's point of view as well as his and her needs, interests, and priorities. The mediator also assists the parties in understanding each other.
With further discussion, the parties explore their interests, and, in view of their own priorities, develop various options that best serve their present and future needs.
During the last step, the parties consider possible options and choose those that work for them and that do not cause the other party to give up something that is important to him or her. These choices are then incorporated into an agreement that is drawn up by the attorney mediator. The parties have their independent attorneys review the agreement. If the agreement is satisfactory to both parties, they sign the agreement and move on to the next phase of their lives.