What Happens in Divorce Mediation?

Couple hiding faces with question marks - What happens in divorce mediationUnderstanding what San Diego divorce mediation services entail can seem daunting at first. It’s natural, since divorce mediation is still unfamiliar to many people. Some people don’t even know that there’s no need to enter a litigation to make sure their best interests are served. That is why it’s crucial to lay out what happens in divorce mediation, so you can clearly see all the benefits of this service.

Explaining divorce mediation

Divorce mediation is a process that consists of informal sessions, in-person or online, where ex-spouses decide how they will restructure their family. The sessions are where ex-spouses have discussions facilitated by divorce mediators. They discuss various aspects such as co-parenting, division of assets, and other topics closely related to divorce.

Who is present during divorce mediation?

At PCM, a female and male divorce mediator take part in the session. This is because PCM adopts a unique team mediation approach, which means that ex-spouses have a team of divorce mediators and other mediation professionals to facilitate their discussions.

Other divorce mediation practices typically involve only one mediator. It’s important to know that PCM’s divorce mediation team also includes a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) and Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) if the ex-spouses need additional assistance.

Are participants in the same room during mediation?

If ex-spouses choose in-person divorce mediation, it means that mediation will take place with the mediators, CDFA, MFT and ex-spouses in the same room. However, with practices like PCM that offer online mediation, ex-spouses can have their mediation sessions from different cities, even countries. In some cases, one of the ex-spouses may be deployed or otherwise unavailable. In other cases, limitations such as a long commute or busy schedule may render online mediation the only option. All in all, it isn’t necessary to have all the participants in the same room for divorce mediation to be efficient.

Is there a complimentary consultation?

Certain divorce mediation practices such as PCM offer a complimentary consultation to ex-spouses to go over what happens during divorce mediation, discuss the cost and expectations, and address any questions regarding mediation. Even though the consultation isn’t mandatory, it’s advisable that both parties attend so they can start off with aligned expectations.

What does the discussion process look like?

During mediation, divorce mediators help ex-spouses identify issues of interest, present their needs and concerns, discuss and find common ground between their needs and requests, brainstorm ideas for how to resolve the issues, and reach an agreement. There will be an agenda with the items under discussion. Divorce mediators make sure both parties have enough time, space and support to present their standpoint on each of the items.

At PCM, sessions last 2 hours each.

What happens after the discussion?

It may take several discussion sessions for the ex-spouses to reach an agreement. Once they do, the Attorney Mediator drafts a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA). Both ex-spouses can take the draft with them for their (outside) attorney to review.

The Attorney Mediator also finalizes the MSA, which is then submitted to the judge. PCM can submit the MSA for you. The judge reviews the MSA and enters the final judgment into it.

Have more questions about what happens in divorce mediation?

If you have any questions or concerns about divorce mediation, the roles of mediators, and how best to prepare for the sessions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Pacific Coast Mediation. We can schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation to go over all your questions before you decide on starting divorce mediation. Give us a call today – we’re here for you.




Talking About Divorce

talking about divorceQ&A:  We’re getting a divorce and we haven’t told our kids yet.  When should we do that?  And better yet:  how should we do that?

I’ve worked with quite a few families who are entering (or in the midst of) the process of divorce, and I think this is the first question that parents ask me when we meet.  To me, this shows just how much parents care about their kids – they know that a difficult, painful transition is on the horizon and they want to protect their children from any unnecessary hurts or struggles.

However, the reality is this:  your family, as you know it, is changing drastically and permanently.  And your kids need to meet this new reality.

In essence, you as parents have the challenging task of telling your kids about an upcoming loss that will inevitably affect them, which can feel similar to telling them a loved one was dying or a dear friend was moving or a treasured home was up for sale.  The loss is coming, and how we prepare our children is crucial to how they move through this transition.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some different aspects of how to have this extremely important conversation with your children.  Here are a few questions to consider as we start delving into this topic:


  • What do my children already know about the divorce?  (Note:  this is not, “What do I hope my kids know/don’t know?” but instead, “What do I really think my kids already know?”)
  • What have my children experienced thus far as the relationship is ending?  (I.e. arguing, staying in separate bedrooms, silent tension, etc.)
  • What questions do I anticipate my children will have about the divorce?
  • What do I want my children to understand about the divorce and the subsequent changes in the family?What do I anticipate will be the hardest part for me in having this conversation?

In this with you,