The first step to our divorce mediation process is called “orientation.” You’ve probably heard the term and associate it with college, where the students become oriented with the school, curriculum and instructors. There are similarities, except you and your spouse will learn about the divorce mediation process and your attorney mediator at Farzad Family Law will learn about each of your goals and the issues we’ll discuss throughout the mediation process.
Orientation starts with an understanding of your marriage, separation, family dynamic, the children involved and the financial aspects of your estate. Issues we will discuss include:
1. The duration of your marriage.
2. Each of your roles in raising your child or children, especially in the past 12 to 24 months before separation.
3. Each of your work schedules and commitments apart from work.
4. Each of your incomes, their source as well as any fluctuations.
5. The marital lifestyle including the assets, debts and expenses that make up the marital estate.
6. An understanding of what each of you believe to be the important issues to you, the ones you believe can easily be worked out and those you believe will take more work during the divorce mediation process.
One thing we will not do during the orientation process of your divorce mediation is focus on fault or unhealthy emotions. While we believe it is important to air out any anger or resentment either spouse toward the other, especially in the context of therapy or counseling, the divorce mediation process must be, at all times, logical and focused on non-adversarial resolution. Are we great listeners? You bet. However, we will do more than just listen. We will help each of you understand what issues make a difference in the divorce case both in a mediation setting and the Court should you and your spouse ever end up there and what issues do not. That way, everyone has clear focus throughout the process and don’t let distractions get in the way of saving time, money and a lot of unnecessary stress.
Our divorce mediation orientation will generally take 2 to 4 hours, depending on the facts of the case. We often charge a flat fee for this first part because we don’t want you to be on the clock while we get to know you, your spouse and the divorce issues that will help us gauge the best road to take together for your divorce mediation. We are flexible regarding scheduling and can complete the initial orientation process in one day or several, depending on your needs and that of your spouse and available hours.
Some frequently asked questions about the orientation process of Farzad Family Law’s divorce mediation are:
1. Should we bring paperwork with us to the divorce mediation orientation?
Most divorce mediation spouses will bring the basics with them – pay stubs, tax returns and the most recent bank statements. That is really all we need at the first meeting. However, if you or your spouse wish to bring additional paperwork, we are ready to review it and discuss the papers with both of you. Since the orientation process of any effective divorce mediation is to engage in dialogue and identify the issues, any paperwork that will help with that is welcome.
2. Will my spouse and I be in the same room during the divorce mediation orientation?
Yes. If the emotions are running a bit hot and either of you would prefer to be separated in the beginning, we will of course accommodate that request. We understand that in any divorce case, emotions are involved. However, at some point, we have to determine whether this is a temporary issue or if you and your spouse simply cannot get along to the extent you cannot effectively communicate with each other. If that is the case, divorce mediation may not be the right path for both of you and we will instead look at other options, such as a collaborative process.
3. Could we settle our case at the divorce mediation orientation?
Yes. If you and your spouse have a small estate and little to no custody issues, it is possible for everything to settle during the orientation process of the divorce mediation. There is of course still the need to put that settlement in the proper written form and complete the minimum written disclosures required by the Family Court before they will process your settlement agreement and make it a Court order but that is generally not a time consuming or difficult process.
For additional frequently asked questions about the mediation process, please visit our FAQ page.
Do you understand orientation? Great! Let’s move on to Step Two of Divorce Mediation – Disclosures.
Ready to get started? Contact us today.