What to Expect at Your First Family Mediation Session

After you have selected your family mediator in Wellesley, it is time to prepare for the first mediation session. While you may be able to resolve issues in the first session, this is not always the case. Many family mediation matters take time to resolve. In the event that your mediation takes a few meetings, that first session can be important for laying ground rules and getting all parties on the same page about how mediation works.

The first session usually starts with a joint session where all parties are present. Your Wellesley family mediator will explain how he or she views the process and what parties can expect from one another. This helps frame what you can expect from one another during the process regarding the structure, formality, and confidentiality. The parties work to set out their goals for the mediation, start exploring their true interests and agree on guidelines about how best to communicate with each other during the sessions. This is also your opportunity to ask your Wellesley family mediator any outstanding questions you have regarding the process.

After this is complete, the parties begin tackling any questions that have immediate time sensitivity, like short-term, interim child care and financial arrangements while the final agreement is being negotiated. With the guidance of the mediator, they then begin working through all the issues that need to be included in a separation agreement, in the case of a divorce; and in the case of an estate matter they begin to lay out the facts and even some legal matters related to their case. Before digging into the details of what an agreement might look like, each party is able to add whatever he or she wants to share regarding the facts and his or her feelings directly to the other side. Between sessions, the parties often have “homework” – facts to gather, decisions to think about, court forms to begin completing. You will work with the other party under the mediator’s guidance in order to determine possible solutions based on the perspective of both parties. Having a neutral party helping you through this can be extremely valuable for putting you on the fast track to resolution.