Three Types of Mediation
Like the Collaborative Process, mediation enables you to resolve your divorce without going to court. Through mediation you can create a binding and enforceable agreement that is confidential and provides privacy not available in a public courtroom.
The biggest distinction between mediation and the Collaborative Process is that in mediation, the mediation professionals are neutral, while in the Collaborative Process model, both spouses hire a collaboratively trained attorney to align with each of their interests.
Couples in mediation are encouraged to consult with independent legal counsel, but it is not a required part of the process and many individuals are comfortable enough with the resolution they’ve helped design that they don’t feel the need to take that extra step.
The professionals that work with Family Divorce Solutions offer three types of mediation that can be beneficial to couples considering a more amicable divorce without a need for individual advocacy: Co-Mediation, Enhanced Mediation and Traditional Mediation. Choosing which process is best for your family will be guided by what is appropriate for your family dynamics and the complexity of your circumstances.
Your mediation team can include neutral lawyers, family divorce coaches and financial specialists who facilitate discussion and guide you through the process. In mediation, neutral lawyers help you understand family law and guides you through the legal process. The Neutral Financial specialist helps you gather your financial information and helps you optimize your finances. The Family Divorce Coach helps you handle the emotions you feel in the process while also helping you navigate difficult conversations with your spouse and helping you create the parenting plan.
Mediation develops an atmosphere of good faith for participants to be fair, reasonable, and respectful to each other.
Mediation alleviates the emotional scars, financial hardships and preserves the integrity of the divorcing couple.
Our training guides us to work collaboratively to further the best possible results, legally, financially and emotionally, for divorcing couples, as well as their families.
A team approach to mediation can meet your legal, financial and emotional needs during the time of uncertainty around your divorce. You are not alone; we will be with you to support you and your family through the entire process.
The following pages will explain the types of mediation that we offer.
- Enhanced Mediation
- Traditional Mediation
Co-Mediation (two professionals)
Co-Mediation is conducted by two neutrals, usually from different disciplines such as mental health and legal, or legal and financial, but nothing would prevent a couple utilizing two professionals of the same discipline as all our professionals are expertly trained in co-mediation.
One of the benefits of co-mediation is that the co-mediators work as a team to diligently advance the case and prevent stalling of the process. The same ineffective communication that contributed to the divorce can create impasses that might cause couples to get frustrated or give up and resort to litigation in court. Adding a skillfully trained mental health specialist in the position of Family Divorce Coach, can assist a couple in communications and working through impasses allowing them to remain in cost-effective mediation.
When a mental health professional serves as a neutral co-mediator, they remain neutral, aiding the couple in practicing and preparing for how to better approach the challenging - yet necessary - discussions which happen during mediation.
If both partners require their own Family Divorce Coach, Financial Specialist and legal professionals might be a better choice of co-mediators.
If a couple has financial issues, a collaboratively and mediation trained Financial Specialist might join in as the neutral co-mediator to assist in clarifying the financial challenge being faced.
Sometimes a couple, who had previously been litigating, decides to reduce their costs and trauma by using mediation. The couple can choose one of FDS’ lawyers as one of their co- mediators to help them understand and address the legal rights and issues in California family law.
In the end, who the couple chooses for their co-mediation team will vary based on their family, their issues and their concerns, but they can be comfortable that by choosing one of our professionals, their needs will be met and their divorce resolved with a minimum of cost, time and upset.
Enhanced Mediation (one neutral from each discipline)
Legal, financial, and mental health professionals
Enhanced mediation is our most comprehensive mediation service offered because it includes a neutral professional from each discipline, and while the fees are a little higher for full team meetings, not all meetings require the entire team. In the end, this model is so efficient that often less time is required to complete a matter.
While most of the meetings include the full team of mediators, here are some examples of circumstances that would be addressed by single team members:
If a couple is having particular difficulty communicating, the team might recommend a meeting with the Licensed Mental Health Professional called a Family Divorce Coach. During that meeting they might work on communication skills, or work out the details of a parenting plan, keeping your children’s best interests in mind. All of our mental health professionals specialize in child development and are highly skilled in helping couples address parenting strategy issues and reaching agreements. When both parents have approved a parenting plan, it can be formally memorialized as a legal document prepared by the attorney for the clients to review.
The enhanced mediation team might recommend that the couple meet alone with the Financial Specialist to address or explain financial issues. Understanding finances that were previously a mystery can serve to increase trust and confidence that things will be resolved with fairness and equity. Having one financial professional prepare all of the mandatory disclosures can also save you a lot of money and time and prepare you prior to any discussions regarding the division of debts and assets, you will both receive a detailed, neutral picture of the present state of all financial affairs.
Oftentimes, one of the partners does more of the financial organization or has more knowledge of the finances. The decision to divorce is often preceded by a breakdown in trust between both partners. In the long-term, it’s more cost effective to have a neutral financial expert thoroughly explain the family’s finances to either or both spouses. The financial information compiled is then shared with the mediation team as the basis from which to start discussions concerning how to share assets moving ahead.
All of our professionals are expertly trained in mediation.
Traditional Mediation is conducted by a mediator able to ensure that all of your documents are carefully drawn up and filed in compliance with the laws in California. As a result, all signed agreements from our mediation process are as enforceable as any that result from a litigated case.
Because the role of the mediator is neutral, it is suggested that divorcing partners independently consult with mediation-friendly lawyers.
We recommend utilizing consulting lawyers who are experienced in mediation and committed to the process of mediation, instead of adversarial in their approach to a case which is how traditional litigated cases are handled. At FDS, we have a list of mediation-friendly lawyers to choose from, or you may choose one on your own.
The benefit of choosing a mediation trained lawyer is that they actively avoid causing needless tension, distress, and expense - they will avoid unnecessarily sabotaging the mediation process by pushing litigation.
The professionals at Family Divorce Solutions can guide your family through a divorce process that is respectful, private, and cost effective. You are never alone. Call us to learn more.