Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Divorce Mediation Behind the Scenes: Initial Contact

First Call

Typically, one of the parties calls my office asking about the mediation process. During this call I will answer many of the basic questions about mediation and will make sure that there is no conflict of interest. In order to maintain neutrality and the appearance of neutrality, it is essential to make sure that there are no prior business, social or client relationships between the parties and the mediator which might affect the mediator’s neutrality.  If there has been a prior relationship the parties and the mediator will have to determine if proceeding with the mediation would be appropriate.
Assuming both parties are interested, I set up an initial free consultation. I make sure that the party calling for the appointment calls his or her partner and I have them confirm the first appointment. These calls are usually fairly short and limited to obtaining identifying information.

First Mediation Session and Beyond..

First mediation session

At the first session I explain to the couple that I will give them a list of issues they will need to cover and will help them make their way through discussion of these issues. When appropriate I provide them with information that might be helpful in resolving their issues. I will also point out issues or concerns, such as the tax ramifications of their tentative agreement. Often these are things that they had not considered and might affect their agreement. I will sometimes suggest that they consult with someone else if there is an issue that is outside of my area of expertise (sophisticated tax planning for instance).