Divorce mediation is a process of dissolving the marriage in a nonadversarial way. The couple negotiates their own settlement with the assistance of a neutral mediator knowledgeable in divorce and family law. They come out of mediation with a settlement that they can live with, and that is entirely controlled by both of them.
The role of the mediator is to assist the couple in reaching a settlement. The mediator does not act as a decision maker or impose settlements. Jo Ann Shartrand has 29 years of experience as a divorce and family law attorney, and 18 years of experience as a mediator. She will use her skills in conflict resolution to help you resolve areas of disagreement. She will also provide you with legal information on the areas that need to be discussed, and creative options when conflict arises, so as to manage the conflict in a more positive manner.
The mediation process begins by the mediator acquiring significant background information on the parties as individuals and as a couple. It is helpful to bring to the first mediation session as much financial information as you can, but at least information to determine your current incomes.
The mediator has an outline that will be given to you at the first session entitled "Decisions to be made in Mediation." The outline covers parenting, support, taxes, division of property, and debts. The couple can add issues to the agenda based on their circumstances.
The typical mediation session lasts 90 minutes unless the couples requests either a shorter or a longer session. If the couple desires a longer session they should advise the mediator when scheduling the appointment.