Step 3: Evaluation-separate meetings to evaluate level of conflict and complexity
In our evaluation meeting, we are beginning the Mediation process and will determine the areas of conflict and complexity of the situation. We will be meeting with you and your spouse separately so that we may address different perspective and different emotional states. Typically in this stage each partner has time to build rapport with the Mediator. You will have time to share your feelings and have a voice about the marriage with the Mediator while we listen. One of the most difficult parts of any divorce is there are two different emotional states, and as the person who did not initiate the divorce, you are likely feeling abandoned or ambushed or both. We simply want to be aware of these emotions as we go through the process. You will experience both highs and lows along the way and we can show you how to keep from self-sabotaging behaviors. We will help you stay clear and make good decision throughout the process. The Mediator will be asking questions about debts, assets, relationships to the children, behavioral habits, levels of trust and if there is any intimidation. For the person who has not initiated the divorce, this can be a good time to be heard and validated by the Mediator as your spouse has probably not done this. You can discuss why the divorce is happening and get your emotions on the table in a safe environment. This will help allow you to begin the process of having a civil relationship with your future ex-spouse. Your Mediator will coach you on communication and acceptance so you can get through your divorce and remain dignified. At the end of this session, your Mediator will meet with both of you to give you an overview of the complexity level, discussing both red flags and areas of alignment. We will discuss the timeline for your mediation process as well as fee options. If the couple chooses to move forward at this point we will spend an additional half-hour advising the couple on how to tell the children, if children are part of their situation.