After each party has agreed to mediate (this is a voluntary process), I meet with each adult person individually. This time is used for me to gather information about the dispute and give each person an opportunity to present their perspectives, needs and expectations. I can then collect and peruse all relevant documentation. Sessions are 90 minutes each, and the process duration is determined by multiple issues to be discussed at the first session.
The core of mediation is resolution of conflict. After selecting to utilise mediation as a means of resolving conflict, through a series of sessions each adult shares their goals, values and interests on the way forward. I gather the relevant information as well as expert opinions where necessary, and we as a unit (both parties and the mediator) brainstorm options. Once these options are explored, decisions are made in the best interests of children (with children’s participation) involved that result in a detailed Parenting Plan and / or Divorce Settlement.