How Does Mediation Work?

Robert H. Klima, Attorney-Mediator, uses a style of mediation which progresses in four steps.

The first step is the Information Gathering Phase. The nature of the conflict is discussed and the issues are outlined. All information necessary for informed decisions to be made is exchanged.

The second step is the Facilitation Phase, during which the mediator assists the parties in both expressing viewpoints in a productive manner and in listening to and considering the other party’s viewpoint.

The third step, if required, is the Evaluative Phase, where the mediator, based upon his own knowledge and experience of family law issues, assists the parties in developing realistic options for settlement of remaining issues which are consistent with the law and with likely outcomes if the issue were to be resolved in court. If requested to do so by the parties, the mediator will offer an opinion with respect to resolution of a particular issue, which the parties are free to accept or reject.

The final step is preparation of the written agreement. Often parties find it helpful to see what their agreement will look like in “black and white.” While the parties are always encouraged to seek independent legal counsel at this point, if they have not already done so, they are not required to.