What is Divorce Mediation
Written by Monica Donaldson Stewart

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce Mediation is a way to negotiate an out-of-court settlement in a divorce case. In divorce mediation, you and your spouse, together with your lawyers if you are represented, hire a neutral third party known as a mediator. The mediator’s role is to help you identify and resolve issues in your divorce. The mediator does not offer advice or make decisions; rather, they facilitate a conversation or series of conversations around settlement to help you and your spouse work out the resolution of your divorce issues.

Divorce mediation is confidential, handled out of court, less expensive than litigating a divorce in court, and gives you – not a judge – more control over the outcome of your divorce.

Here you will learn more about divorce mediation, how it works, and how to choose a mediator.
Anyone considering getting divorced should consider divorce mediation, as it can work for many couples and has many benefits and advantages over traditional litigation, including:

  • Mediation is usually much less expensive than a series of hearings or a court trial.
  • You and your spouse — not the court — can control the timing and outcome of the process.
  • The mediation process is confidential, so neither spouse can use the other person’s negotiation against them.
  • Mediation can give you a resolution based on ideas a discussion of what is fair and appropriate in your situation, rather than having a “solution” imposed upon by impersonal and rigid legal principles.
  • Mediation is often successful, which means it ends in a full or partial settlement of your divorce.
  • The mediation process can improve communication between the two spouses, helping to prevent future turmoil.
  • You can still seek legal advice or have a lawyer represent you in the mediation process if you want to do that.

The Divorce Mediation Process

The divorce mediation process includes:

Step 1. Choose your Divorce Mediator

Many attorneys who practice family law are also experienced divorce mediators. You can search Google for divorce mediators in your local area by searching “divorce mediation near me. ” You can also research local mediation organizations, such as the Arizona Association for Conflict Resolution. If you know anyone that has used divorce mediation in the past, you can ask them for referrals. Make sure your mediator has sufficient training and experience; don’t be afraid to ask them about their qualifications.

Step 2. Meet your Mediator and Provide Information

During the initial meeting, you will be asked to provide background information about your family and the mediator will provide a general outline of the process. If both spouses are present at the first meeting, the mediator may want to gather more detailed information to get an idea of what issues are likely to arise. If only one spouse is present, the mediator should take care to avoid requesting (or providing) information that might cause the other spouse to feel like the mediator will not be impartial. At no point in the process will the mediator give you or your spouse legal advice.

Step 3. The Mediator Identifies Needs and Interests

Identifying your needs and interests is important to ensure that both spouses feel like they are being heard. Sometimes the spouses’ interests overlap but their communication has been so poor that they don’t recognize that overlap. The mediator should promote an environment that encourages both spouses to listen to each other. Once the spouses have an understanding of each other’s needs and interests, they are in a better position, with the mediator’s assistance, to find common ground and compromise to reach a fair settlement.

Step 4. Attend Additional Mediation Meetings

You may have to attend one or more additional meetings depending on the issues raised in your case. Depending on where each spouse feels most vulnerable, it may not be productive or appropriate to discuss finances in the same meeting that you are discussing the children. In complex financial cases, , it is not uncommon for a mediator to recommend that the spouses to hire a neutral financial expert to make sure each spouse understands the nature of their assets and debts and the financial consequences of their decisions.

Step 5. Branstorm and Negotiate to Reach a Settlement

Now that the mediator understands your needs and interests, they will facilitate a discussion that, if all goes well, will result in it’s time to negotiate a fair full settlement agreementof the issues. You and your spouse will evaluate and discuss different option produced by the mediator until you narrow down which ones work best for the both of you. The mediator may offer additional will try to find a settlement options if the spouses find themselves at an impasse. that address each spouse’s needs and interests as much as possible. Negotiation Settlement will require concessions and compromises on both sides.

Step 6. Prepare Tentative Settlement Agreement

Your mediator will prepare a written summary of your tentative settlement agreement into writing so both spouses can review it with their advisors. This written summary may form the basis of the final, formal divorce settlement documents. In some cases, the mediator may prepare the documents necessary to file and finalize the divorce action.

What Happens After Divorce Mediation?

When agreements are reached in mediation, the spouses will still need to take certain steps to implement those agreements after their divorce is final. This may include signing deeds to house and titles to vehicles, closing joint bank accounts, updating estate plans and life insurance beneficiaries. The mediator can provide a checklist based on the agreements reached; however, the mediator cannot give legal advice

How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?

Divorce mediation is often a faster process than traditional divorce. According to FindLaw, “Every case is different, but the average case usually takes at least three to four two-hour mediation sessions, spread out over at least a month or two. More complex cases can take four to six months to complete.” Read more about how long divorce mediation takes here.


  1. Heinig, Melissa. “Will Divorce Mediation Work for You?” Www.nolo.com, Nolo, 15 Oct. 2014, https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/will-divorce-mediation-work-you-30293.html.
  2. Doskow, Emily. “Divorce Mediation Basics.” Www.nolo.com, Nolo, 17 Aug. 2016, https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/divorce-mediation-basics-36180.html.
  3. “What Is Divorce Mediation?” Mediate.com – Find Mediators – World’s Leading Mediation Information Site, https://www.mediate.com/articles/jamesb1.cfm.

See Also:

Speak with Our Divorce Mediators In Arizona Today!

While the divorce mediation process is not for everyone, this process can save you money, stress, and hassle. Speak with a divorce mediator to find out if divorce mediation is right for your family. Many of the professionals on BestLegalChoices.com are also divorce mediators and can provide you with a great deal of information about your options.


Divorce litigation can be scary and emotionally draining for you, your spouse, and your children. But it doesn’t have to be that way with collaborative divorce. The collaborative process can result in a less expensive, more efficient, and less harmful outcome for everyone involved. One of the legalfinancial, and communication professionals at Best Legal Choices can help you navigate this difficult time in your life.