PHASES OF MEDIATION
INTRODUCTION + PHASE 1
In the introductory meeting, we will typically outline what to expect in mediation; identify your goals, hopes and concerns; and address any pressing issues.
Gathering Financial Information:
You will develop budgets; estimate the values of real property, investment, retirement and business assets; and gather balances of mortgages, credit cards, and other debts. You may have valuations of pensions or businesses; or you may value assets that were acquired before the relationship.
As you separate, you may be adjusting your career path; you may work with a career counselor to create a timeline and income estimate as part of the separation.
Gathering Parenting Information:
We will review current schedules for the children and parents; locations of current and expected housing, schools, activities and friends; and your thoughts as to what works and what is difficult for the children.
We sometimes find that working with a child specialist can reassure parents. Child specialists can assist with smoothing the transition for the children. This can happen either with or without the children meeting the child specialist.
Outcome of Phase 1:
You will have a property summary; a budget for each household plus one for child expenses; a summary of cash flow; and one or more draft parenting schedules. You will also have a timeline for reaching settlement and submitting final agreements to the court. Depending on your needs, you may have additional valuations or reports.
Once we have baseline financial and budget information, we will revisit your goals. We will discuss your plans for your post-divorce life, emphasizing your finances and parenting arrangements. We will explore housing options, needs for liquidity over time, and the timeline for separating finances. Discussions about parenting arrangements are centered on strengthening the parental alliance, and sheltering children from parental conflict. Being specific about your goals will support us in creating an agreement that eases the transition into separate households, and optimizes your path forward.
Based on your goals, circumstances and resources, we will explore your initial thoughts on how to divide assets, debts and cash flow to create separate households. You will each have extensive information on the other’s goals and thoughts; this is key to designing a settlement that makes the most efficient use of your resources.
Creating Interim Arrangements:
As we develop your financial information and goals, we will discuss your need for a degree of privacy and autonomy in managing finances. Having an interim set of parenting arrangements also gives you the chance to test a parenting plan and identify any topics that would benefit from further discussion or experimentation.
Outcome of Phase 2:
You will have identified tentative areas of agreement, and remaining areas of discussion.
Financial modeling is useful to measure the likely impact of possible financial divisions. In light of the model, we will define a settlement that makes the best use of your resources, in light your preferences, tolerances and requirements.
Mediation is useful to create a baseline set of expectations and responsibilities that evolve as children mature.
Once you have reached complete agreements, we will prepare legal drafts for you to review with your attorneys. Once you have attorney feedback, we will meet for a final review of drafts.
Outcome of Phase 3:
You will have instructions on entering the final papers with the court and implementing the settlement.
Meetings are often by zoom, and may be arranged in person.