We’ve Decided to Pursue Mediation. What’s Next?

Chess pieces-two equally powerful adversaries facing each other

So you’ve decided (or are still deciding) whether to pursue mediation for your family legal issue. West Coast Family Mediation Center welcomes families going through divorce and other life transitions – working as a neutral third party to guide decision making and keep you out of court.

Chess pieces-two equally powerful adversaries facing each other

A look at the mediation process.

Once you and your spouse (or the other party) have chosen to mediate, you may be wondering what comes next. If you are going through divorce mediation, we would start with a planning session for each party and their mediator to set goals and build confidence in the process. If you are working with a mediator to do hourly work, we move right into scheduling joint sessions with all parties. The first thing that will kick off the following is a welcome email your mediator will send out to you outlining the next steps. There are a few different pieces we will explore throughout the following questions.

What is a Preliminary Planning Session?

The Preliminary Planning Session – PPS, is used as a space for you to ask questions and to build rapport with your mediator. We find this a helpful tool to help you be confident in the mediation process, this is also a space to discuss your goals and any concerns you may have before starting your joint sessions together.

The PPS can also be useful to evaluate proposals and explore options before presenting them to your spouse. Your mediator will provide you with information and sources to gain more insight into any of the options you are considering. 

How do we schedule our joint sessions?

As you move through the process there will be a few ways to schedule, and a few different types of joint sessions. If you have kids, we usually begin the first session with your parenting session.If you don’t have kids or have adult children, we will move into your joint financial session. For this session, it is paramount that each party has completed their financial disclosures as your mediator will need all that information to ensure your session can be productive and accurate.

We utilize Calendly to schedule our meetings, and there are two types of links we use depending on your comfort. For joint sessions, we utilize a poll that will allow you both to see available dates and times and cast your vote for any options that you are able to attend. This helps us to keep the number of emails back and forth minimal and to help streamline the scheduling process. If you and the other party are openly communicating and would like we can also use a direct scheduling link. My main goal is to keep this piece of the process as simple as possible, and not add any unnecessary stress.

How do I get started?

There are a few ways you can reach out to us.

First, would be filling out a contact form on our website and we will reach out to you from there. My personal favorite is over the phone, this option isn’t for everyone, but I find it can be helpful to speak to people directly. This allows me to help answer any preliminary questions you might have, but also, I’m also here to help you through, even if that means just having a quick chat and getting you set up with a mediator. If you were referred to us, please let us know if you feel comfortable sharing, we always like to know.

Once we have had our initial point of contact, I will follow up with an email to you or both of you with a scheduling link which will allow you to review the mediator’s availability and select a time that works best to meet. Remember, however you choose to reach out, we are here to help, or get you into the hands that can.

We offer several ways to connect and offer support throughout California for those deciding to pursue mediation. Contact West Coast Mediation Center today for a personalized consultation!

By: Anthony Snead, Mediation Coordinator

anthony snead with west coast family mediation center
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