When preparing for your mediation session, your first step will be to prepare a mediation statement. This statement provides your mediator with a brief introduction to your case, any disputes between you and the other party, and what your expectations are for the session. It should be no longer than five pages and should highlight the key disputes between you and the other party. You may request that anything discussed in your mediation statement remain confidential between you and the mediator. If you do not make this request, the statement will be shared with the other party, providing the other party a better understanding of your side of the dispute. The other party will also have the option to keep his or her mediation statement confidential.
The mediator will read through your mediation statement prior to your scheduled session in order to better understand your case. In order to provide your mediator plenty of time to prepare for your mediation, the statement must be submitted at least five (5) days before your scheduled session.
A good mediation statement will include the following:
- Your case number (if you have one) and court information including the Judge, County of the Court, and Judicial District. If you have already filed your case, you can locate this information at the top of your court documents.
- The name and contact information for the other party.
- If you or the other party plan to include any third party participants in your mediation such as a parent, partner, or child, include that in your mediation statement. Both parties must agree to include a third party prior to the mediation.
- A brief description of your case. Things to include are the date of your marriage, separation, and divorce (if applicable), names and ages of any children, occupations of both you and the other party, as well as any relevant financial information such as annual income.
- If you and the other party disagree on anything specific, include a brief description of the disagreement, as well as your recommended resolution. It will be helpful for you to also include a well-reasoned response to why your recommended resolution should be followed. For example, if you and your spouse disagree about the custody arrangement, provide a strong argument for why your proposed custody arrangement should be followed.
- If you and the other party have already made an attempt to resolve a dispute, provide a brief summary of that attempt and the main reasons you could not reach an agreement. For example, if you and your spouse disagree about what to do with your marital home and failed to reach an agreement in a prior discussion or mediation, include a description of this conversation in your mediation statement. This allows the mediator to brainstorm new ways to approach this topic and hopefully help you and your spouse come to an agreement.
- If there is a disagreement over division of assets and/or debt, provide the mediator with all relevant financial information including annual incomes, retirement plans, bank and credit card statements, real estate deeds and mortgage statements, and any other relevant materials.
- If you have minor children, provide a description of your requested custody and timesharing arrangement. This includes whether you are requesting sole or joint custody, as well as any timesharing and/or visitation arrangement.
- If you have already filed your case with the court, provide the mediator with a brief summary of your court proceedings, including what documents have been filed, if a hearing has been set, and any other relevant information about your case.
- Provide your mediator with all key documents including your Petition, Custody Plan and Order, Marital Settlement Agreement, and other court documents relevant to your case.
Remember, the mediation statement is your opportunity to introduce the mediator to the key facts of your case. Providing with this information will save time and energy at the mediation itself, and will allow the mediator time to thoughtfully consider ways to help you and the other party reach an agreement. Taking the time to write a strong mediation statement will only help you in settling your divorce or parentage case.
It is always best when a couple can reach an agreement on their own. It will save time and money. It will also help the process go more smoothly for both of you. However, if you find you are struggling to reach a compromise, consider scheduling a mediation.
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