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What Is The Divorce Mediation Process?

By May 16, 2024May 21st, 2024Divorce

Are you finding yourself in a situation where you need a divorce and researching your options? So, what is the process and how does mediation work in divorce? Divorce mediation takes the drama out of divorce by guiding parties to a fair resolution on assets, liabilities, support, and kiddos.

How Does Mediation Work in Divorce?

In a divorce, you can choose one of the following options:

Hire two attorneys (and break the bank by going to court)

Hire one attorney (where only one party is represented and the other party is at the other party’s attorney’s mercy)

Hire a mediator and avoid court (and also avoid the cost of court). 

Do it yourself (because you know what you are doing)

Click here to read more about the different pathways available to get a divorce.

Divorce mediation is a process where a neutral third party, the mediator, guides divorcing couples through all issues related to the divorce. 

In Oregon, anyone can list themselves as a mediator. There is no licensing requirement. That means that my 17-year-old son can market himself as a divorce mediator. I know, scary, right?!

How do you find a divorce mediator who is reputable and experienced? I suggest only using attorneys who are mediators. They are educated on divorce laws and, as attorneys, are required to hold insurance to protect their clients against mistakes.

A mediator is not a private judge and does not make decisions about the terms of your divorce. The parties control their settlement.

How does mediation work in a divorce at Mediation Northwest? Our divorce mediation objectives are to:

  • educate both parties regarding the options they have for their situation
  • inform each party of the advantages and disadvantages to each option
  • encourage understanding between the parties
  • guide both parties toward mutually acceptable solutions

Our unique divorce mediation process is designed to calm emotions, educate parties, put children first, and guide parties to a fair settlement on their own terms and without breaking the bank.

The Divorce Mediation Process

Before the first divorce mediation session, we send our clients an interactive digital questionnaire. We value our clients’ time away from work, and to that end, our clients never take time off from work just to come to the office to sit with a paralegal and sort through a pile documents. Instead, our clients fill-out the digital interactive questionnaire in their own time. We then review and sort the information prior to our first session. This process allows us to focus on the areas requiring discussion, which also saves clients time in mediation.

The first divorce mediation session is geared toward understanding each party’s goals, wants, and needs. If children are involved, then we address custody, parenting time, and child support in the first session. If no children are involved, then we begin discussing the assets and liabilities of the marriage. All subsequent divorce mediation sessions follow the basic agenda of custody, parenting time, child support, spousal support, assets, and liabilities until we’ve reached settlement on all issues.

In a divorce, most attorneys and mediators use a spreadsheet to understand and itemize the couple’s assets and liabilities. 

Mediation Northwest has designed a unique and proprietary spreadsheet that maximizes the parties’ understanding (i.e. your eyes won’t glaze-over from reading a spreadsheet) and minimizes the time spent in mediation.

family looking at papersEach divorce mediation session is two hours. Some take less time, but never more. Why never more? We’ve learned over decades of mediating divorces that clients are fatigued and make bad decisions after two hours. We continue to schedule two-hour sessions  until we reach resolution on all issues. We only schedule one session per week, but some parties only want to mediate once a month.

Most couples without children tend to mediate in one or two sessions. Those who have kids generally take three or four sessions. Of course, every couple is different and unique in how much time they may need. Some couples take eight sessions. Some take one hour. 

The amount of time spent in divorce mediation is dependent upon the complexity of the estate and the agreeability of the parties.

A great divorce mediator’s expertise shines in the very difficult, and often emotional discussions, that occur in a divorce. A skilled divorce mediator ensures that both parties have ample opportunity to express their perspectives and concerns. A divorce mediator’s role isn’t to make decisions, but, instead to set the agenda and to guide the conversation toward mutually beneficial agreements.

Flexibility and Customization in Mediation

One of the key advantages of mediation lies in its flexibility. Unlike rigid courtroom procedures, mediation holds space for the unique circumstances of each couple. Whether it’s prioritizing children’s well-being, addressing financial concerns, or handling intricate asset division, mediation adapts to accommodate the specific needs and priorities of the individuals involved.

In divorce mediation, the parties define “fair,” not the court. If parties decide fair is 50/50 or if the parties want to divide everything 80/20, mediation allows for that distribution.

Benefits of Mediation in Divorce

The benefits of mediation extend far beyond the mechanics of a divorce settlement agreement. Mediation fosters a sense of empowerment and control, allowing individuals to actively participate in shaping their future. When done correctly, divorce mediation creates the foundation for a better post-divorce relationship, which is especially crucial in cases involving shared parenting.

Mediation is more time-efficient and cost-effective than traditional litigation. By sidestepping prolonged courtroom battles, couples can save both time and money.

attorney Julie Gentili Armbrust - divorce mediation lawyer - eugene oregon

The Role of Julie Gentili as a Divorce Mediator

Julie Gentili is a seasoned attorney-mediator at Mediation Northwest and has been guiding individuals through the treacherous waters of divorce for over twenty-four years with expertise and empathy.

She employs various communication techniques to bridge gaps, defuse conflicts, and encourage empathy between parties. Her experience in handling emotional and complex situations allows her to guide conversations toward practical solutions, even amidst heightened tensions.

Moreover, Julie doesn’t just focus on the immediate issues; she encourages forward-thinking and helps couples consider the long-term implications of their decisions. Her goal isn’t merely to resolve the current dispute but to lay the groundwork for sustainable agreements that cater to the evolving needs of both parties.

Conclusion: A Pathway Towards Resolution

In the realm of divorce, where emotions run high and conflicts seem insurmountable, divorce mediation emerges as a beacon of hope. Julie Gentili’s role as a mediator at Mediation Northwest exemplifies the transformative power of constructive dialogue and collaborative problem-solving.

Mediation isn’t just about settling disputes; it’s about fostering understanding, empowering individuals, and paving the way for a more harmonious post-divorce future. Julie’s guidance throughout this process embodies empathy, expertise, and a commitment to facilitating resolutions that benefit both parties involved.

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