The Stages of Divorce Mediation
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The Stages of Divorce Mediation

What does a mediation really resemble? Below explains of the stages of mediation.

A lot of mediations undergo a sequence of 5 stages—not exactly in this order, and many of them could be reiterated at different points throughout mediation. Your mediation could be different, but the following are the fundamentals of each of the stages.

Introductory Stage

In this initial stage, the mediator works alongside both of you to establish groundwork for the rest of mediation. You provide the mediator with background information concerning your situation, and the mediator clarifies how the mediation is going to be carried out. Subject to how good you both communicate with each other and what the matters are concerning your case, the mediator proposes an approach that should increase the possibility of reaching an agreement. You’ll evaluate the matters on which you and your spouse agree and/or disagree, assisting you in working with one another on an itinerary for the rest of mediation.

Information-Gathering Stage

For the mediation to be triumphant, you, your spouse, and the mediator all are required to be as completely informed as you can about the facts concerning your case. This part is the information gathering stage. Occasionally it starts during your first session; occasionally it begins following that session. When details you and the mediator require is inaccessible or is being disputed, the mediator is going to try to assist you in finding ways to get it or to ascertain what is correct. For instance, you might require a policy number and other information regarding a life insurance policy. If you are unable to find your copy of the policy, the mediator could suggest ways to acquire this information, like getting in contact with the broker that sold you the policy or get a hold of the insurance company.

Throughout this stage, the mediator might first begin to talk about the general legal guidelines that could apply to your case. This may comprise of the laws in your state determining how a judge would split your assets and debts, how child custody and/or child support would be determined, when and how spousal maintenance may be ordered, and laws concerning with associated matters such taxes and life and/or health insurance. This general legal information is gong to assist you deciding how to approach the matters in your case.

The mediator is going to also ask you both to bring in financial documentation like tax returns and financial institution and mortgage statements. As you proceed, the mediator is going to summarize the information being gathered. When you agree that more research is required or a neutral professional needs to be consulted, that is going to go on a “to do” list. This second stage of mediation can range from two or more sessions, particularly if you are required to do outside work to acquire additional information or assessments. When you believe that you already know enough concerning your case and have clear ideas on how to achieve a settlement, you might find yourself restless during this stage and impatient to progress with the negotiations. Although you might want to charge on, the mediator’s job is to guarantee that both of you have all the details and information you require for negotiating an agreement that is lawfully binding and that you aren’t going to have any regrets having signed.

Framing Stage

During the framing stage, the mediator assists each spouse in outlining that individual’s reasoning for wanting specific outcomes in the settlement. These reasons can include individual concerns, precedence, objectives, and values. They are usually referred to by mediators as “needs and interests.” This post uses the broader terminology “interests.” Determining interests helps to frame the primary goal of the mediation: discovering a resolution of the matters that effectively addresses each spouse’s most vital interests. In a lot of divorces, many matter need to be examined considering each spouse’s interest. These can comprise of property and debt splitting, child custody and/or support, and spousal maintenance.

Usually, spouses’ interests are going to coincide. This is especially possible if the interests involve a concern for other individuals, like children. When coincidences like this happens, it increases the possibility of finding a settlement option that will address their common concerns. Needless to say, it’s not always workable to negotiate an agreement that meets fully all of the interests of the conflicting parties. Many interests might have to be negotiated, particularly in divorces, where limited resources have to be divided between two homes. But if the concentration is on determining and addressing each individual’s most important wishes and interests, the resulting negotiations are going to be ones that each of the spouses can live with.

Many mediators prefer to carry out the framing stage in individual sessions, as they consider it better prepares each of you for the upcoming stage: negotiating. Other mediators prefer joint sessions since they think that hearing your spouse work alongside the mediator to develop interests puts down a better foundation for the compromising of the negotiation stage. Each way can work, even though individual sessions make the mediation cost slightly more and slightly longer, since anything important that is discussed in the individual session is going to have to be reciprocated to the other party.

Negotiating Stage

After the mediator has assisted the spouses frame the matters and interests plainly, it is time to negotiate a reasonable settlement. This typically starts with an examination of possible options. With the mediator’s assistance, the spouses discuss and assess their options, until in the end they narrow down their options to the ones that work ideally for both parties. Arriving at the final mixture of options is going to involve compromises and give and take for each of the parties.

A lot of mediators are going to emphasize the problem-solving facet of negotiations at this stage. The problems that need to be solved is finding settlement alternatives that addresses each of the spouse’s most important interests as much as possible. Having this emphasis, you’ll be able to negotiate by trading off reasonable options rather than getting fixed into zero-sum bargaining, where one of the parties gain, is the other parties loss.

Concluding Stage

At this stage, the provisional settlement agreement is then put into writing and issued to both parties for review with their consultants. If the matters in your case are straightforward, the mediator may develop a notation detailing your settlement and provides you with an opportunity for signing it prior to you leaving the mediation session in which you finished your negotiations. The notation can abridge the vital points of agreement and may be used as a basis for creating a formal settlement agreement that is going to be filed within the court as a part of the now-uncontested divorce case.

A lot of mediators, particularly those that are also lawyers, are going to create the written settlement agreement that is going to then be filed within the court. Nevertheless, you should also have a lawyer of your own examine the draft agreement for you.


  1. Emily Doskow, A. (2017, March 31). The stages of divorce mediation. Retrieved September 9, 2021, from

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