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What Are the 5 Steps of Mediation for Divorce in Ohio?

By Jim Robenalt

Did you know that the marriage rate in the United States is 5.1 per 1,000 people? While many people get married every year, many people also get divorced every year. The process of divorce can be confusing and stressful, not to mention expensive and long-lasting. 

Divorce mediation, Ohio, can make this process a lot simpler. If you don’t know much about divorce mediation, you might not know how it can smooth out the divorce process. There are five main steps in the mediation process for divorce that you should know about if you plan on taking this route. 

Keep reading and learn more about the details below. 

1. Opening Statements

The first stage of divorce mediation is usually the simplest since it mainly involves everyone getting acquainted with each other. In a way, the first stage is a sort of orientation so that you and your spouse can get familiar with the divorce mediator and so the mediator can get to know more about the two of you. This is important because the more the mediator knows about the two of you, the more the mediator will be able to help and come to helpful agreements and solutions. 

Keep in mind that meeting with a mediator will usually require you and your spouse to go to the mediator’s office. However, there are some cases in which you can meet with the mediator online such as via video chat. But in most cases, an in-person meeting is preferred. 

During the first stage, both spouses will have the chance to make an opening statement. An opening statement is essentially voicing whatever concerns the spouse may have and what kind of outcome that spouse would like from the divorce. Opening statements should not elevate into arguments and, in fact, while one spouse is giving an opening statement, the other spouse is usually not allowed to interrupt. 

Once each spouse has their turn to give an opening statement, the divorce mediator will have a much better idea of what concerns are the most important. This will allow the mediator to get a better feel of the situation and how to go about solving whatever problems may be at hand. 

2. Joint Discussion

As mentioned before, one spouse is not allowed to interrupt the other spouse when one is giving their opening statement. Once that first stage is over, the spouses and mediator can proceed to the next stage of joint discussion. This stage will involve more of a dialogue between not only the spouses but also the mediator. 

The main thing that will be discussed is what was mentioned in each opening statement. Again, this discussion should not escalate into an argument. Rather, it is a time in which both spouses can explore both of the opinions that they have voiced. 

While there is likely to be some disagreement between these two opening statements, the mediator will be present to make sure that the discussion doesn’t turn into an argument. After all, heated arguments will not accomplish much and may even complicate matters worse. This second stage will involve the mediator asking the spouses several questions, usually open-ended questions so that the spouses can provide more detailed answers.

The Details

This simple method of communicating will highlight which problems are the most important for the spouses. If the spouses have a problem that they can’t seem to agree on, this is where the mediator can come in to help and offer another opinion. The mediator, of course, is professionally trained to handle disagreements between spouses and help them come to an agreement. 

This may take some time, but a good mediator should be able to sort out the situation so that both spouses are content. The mediator will usually help sort out a variety of factors by discussing the division of property, child custody, and so on. During this stage, it is still important that the spouses do not interrupt each other or become too angry. 

Instead, it is important to remain calm and reasonable during this stage so that it will be easier to discuss different factors and, of course, come to some kind of solution. 

3. Private Discussions

After the joint discussion, the mediator will take each spouse aside so that they can speak privately. This is especially important if the joint discussion seems to be escalating or if the spouses start to become too angry to have a reasonable and meaningful conversation about their divorce. Allowing the mediator to speak to each spouse individually will also allow each spouse to continue to voice their opinions and concerns. 

This will also ensure that the mediator learns more important information about each spouse. The main benefit of private discussions is that the mediator can help come up with a variety of solutions for each spouse. The mediator will take into account various factors such as the good points that a spouse may have along with the weak points in the spouse’s arguments. 

The mediator will likely continue asking questions during this time to help clear up any convoluted matters. Keep in mind that the mediator is unbiased and will only ever make decisions or offer ideas in a neutral and unbiased way. This will make sure that the mediator does not favor one spouse over the other and that the solutions are fair. 

It is during this stage that the mediator can help come up with various solutions that the spouses may consider to help speed along the divorce process. While some solutions may not be agreed upon by both spouses, other solutions may be a good fit. Whatever the case, this is the stage in which both spouses should come to some kind of idea as to what the settlement should be. 

4. Negotiation 

After the third stage, the fourth stage involves both spouses and the mediator coming back together in the same room to continue discussing the divorce. By this point, the mediator will have helped both spouses to come to certain decisions regarding the divorce. In particular, this fourth stage is when each spouse will have the opportunity to talk about the solutions they came up individually with the mediator. 

Of course, these solutions are not written in stone and they can be changed. This is why the fourth stage is all about negotiation. Both spouses may have things that they like about the other’s solution, but they may still disagree on some things. That’s why, with the help of the mediator, a bit of negotiation can go a long way. 

With a few tweaks to these solutions, it shouldn’t be too difficult for the two spouses to finally come to some kind of agreement. If the spouses are starting to agree for the most part at this point, then it may be time to start considering settlements. Once you get to that point, the process of divorce will start to come to a close. 

5. Settlements

Once the two spouses finally come to an agreement, a settlement is in order. It will be the mediator’s job to fill out paperwork and write down information relating to the settlement agreement between the two spouses. It is important to write down this information so that there is proof of all the details in case the spouses decide to change their minds later on. 

Once the settlement agreement is created, it will then be necessary for both parties to sign the paperwork to make it official and legal. By that point, the paperwork can be submitted to the court where there will be a final hearing. That is the point at which the two spouses will have to testify that they still want to get divorced and that they agree to the agreements that they have created. 

Of course, there are incidences in which the spouses may not be able to come to an agreement in the first place. In this case, the mediator may decide to start the process over with them so they can come to different solutions. In other cases, it may be necessary to bring the case to trial to battle it out. 

But in most cases, a good mediator can solve most problems and make the divorce much easier. 

What To Know About Divorce Mediation, Ohio

Everyone knows that the process of divorce is long, difficult, and stressful as well as expensive. However, your divorce doesn’t have to be such a hard time if you consider divorce mediation, Ohio. With a good divorce mediator on your side, the process should be much simpler. 

To learn more about mediators, contact us here

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