Family mediation is a collaborative process that allows the parties to resolve their disputes without the intervention of a judge. The mediation is conducted in a neutral, third party setting. The mediator assists the parties in identifying their issues, finding workable solutions and helps the parties reach an agreement that is mutually acceptable. Mediation can be completed in one session or in a series of sessions over a period of time selected by the participants. Prior to any joint meetings, the mediator will meet with each participant individually to gather information and help set expectations.
Mediation is a voluntary, consensual process and both parties must agree to participate. It is important for both parties to bring the information that they believe is relevant to their dispute, as well as all of the documentation that they wish to be reviewed or discussed during the mediation session. It is helpful to prepare ahead of time for the mediation, by writing down the topics that you want to discuss or by preparing questions that you have. This will help to ensure that the session is productive and efficient.
It is also important to remember that mediation can be emotionally charged, and that the goal of the mediation is to find workable solutions for the entire family. There may be times that discussions become heated, however, the mediator is trained to assist the parties in navigating the discussion, and helping both sides understand each other’s perspectives.