Hey there, this is your friendly neighborhood family mediator. Today, I’m going to share with you what the mediation process looks like when helping a couple through a divorce in California. Now, you may be thinking, “Divorce? That’s not funny!” But believe me, it’s possible to approach this serious subject with a little bit of humor and a lot of empathy. So, let’s dive right in!
The Role of a Family Mediator in Divorce
First things first, let’s establish what a family mediator does. Simply put, a family mediator is someone who helps a couple navigate the divorce process in a respectful and constructive manner. My job is to facilitate communication between the couple, help them identify their needs and interests, and work with them to find a mutually agreeable solution.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Wait a minute, how can you possibly make a divorce process respectful and constructive? Isn’t divorce supposed to be a messy, emotional affair?” Well, my dear reader, that’s exactly why I’m here! Divorce doesn’t have to be a battlefield. With the right approach and a little bit of humor, we can turn a potentially destructive situation into a constructive one.
Establishing Ground Rules for California Divorce Mediation
So, let’s talk about the process. When a couple comes to me for mediation, the first thing we do is establish ground rules. This means we set expectations for how we’re going to communicate with each other during the mediation process. We make sure that everyone is on the same page and that we’re all committed to finding a solution that works for everyone.
Once we’ve established the ground rules, we get down to the nitty-gritty.
Planning Sessions – Identifying Needs and Interests
We start with our Preliminary Planning Sessions where we help each partner identify their needs and interests. This means we ask questions like,
- “What do you want to get out of this divorce?”
- “What are your priorities?”
We explore each person’s needs and interests in-depth, making sure that we understand what’s important to each of them separately, before coming together in our first joint mediation session.
Collaborating – Building During Joint Mediation Sessions
Once we begin the joint mediation sessions, we will work to create a list that identifies everyone’s needs and interests. Next, we will start brainstorming solutions. This is where the real fun begins! We start tossing ideas around and seeing what sticks. We get creative, we think outside the box, and we come up with solutions that no one had thought of before.
Handing Roadblocks and Why Your Involvement Is Crucial in the Mediation Process
Of course, not every solution is going to work. Sometimes, we’ll come up with an idea that sounds great in theory but just isn’t feasible in practice. When that happens, we go back to the drawing board and come up with something else. Instead of engaging in a contentious process whereby you and your spouse are not directly involved in making the big decisions you will have to live with for the rest of your life, in mediation, you are the center of all the discussions! There are no discussions without you. We need, and want, you and your spouse to be present whenever we are discussing your lives.
Drafting and Finalizing the Divorce Agreement
Finally, once we’ve found a solution that everyone is happy with, we put it in writing. We make sure that everyone understands what they’ve agreed to, and we make it official.
Contact Us for California Divorce Mediation Services
And there you have it! That’s what a family mediator does when they help a couple through a divorce. We keep things respectful; we keep things constructive, and we make sure everyone comes out of the process feeling satisfied. We’re here to help! If you or someone you know is going through a divorce, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at West Coast Family Mediation Center.
by: Jennifer Segura