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Previous poster heading into mediation, wants to know how to prepare

Your Question:
I have already explained some of my situation here.

We are going to mediation in 2 weeks. I need to know what I need to be prepared for it. What will happen? How will it work? Will we sit at a conference table with our attoneys and mediator or will we be split up in separate rooms?

What kind of "evidence" do I need to bring? Emails stating that he agreed with certain stuff and now he is just going against what he said? Emails showing how uncooperative he is when we have to communicate about our 6 month old's care? Emails between the sitter, the father, and I showing animosity and other reasons the day care provider should be changed? Will it help at all for me to bring these items? How about unpaid medical bills?

Please help me to prepare myself for a mediation. I have no idea what this entails.

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My Answer:

You should ask your attorney what will happen at mediation. It can come in all sorts of flavors.

There are private mediators, and there are court-sponsored mediators.

Some mediators have authority to make recommendations to a judge, and some mediators don't.

Some mediators welcome attorneys to be present, and some would prefer no attorneys be present.

What they all have in common is an opportunity for a dialogue between the parties, to try to come to common ground on any of the areas that are in dispute.

If your mediator can make recommendations to the judge, then you will want to have ammunition that can prove your case.

If your mediator does not have authority to make any recommendations, and is just there as a facilitator, then you don't have to prove anything.

You go in to mediation, very clear-headed as to the MINIMUM you require to settle it, and if you can get the minimum or better, you've done a great job.

In my experience, it requires two cooperative and reasonable people to find success in mediation. If only one party is unreasonable, mediation won't work. I've been through mediation four times (i.e., because we were ordered by the court). They each lasted less than 20 minutes, ended by the mediator, as it was clear no progress could be made. We were referred back to the court for a ruling.

You and/or your ex may or may not be reasonable. If you both understand the concept of compromise and reason, then mediation should prove really helpful.

I would suggest that you write down the minimum you want (i.e., as being best for your child). I suggest that you two agree that no other parties or attorneys will be present during mediation. This keeps it ONLY between the parents.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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