Overview of Mediation
The firm’s Family and Divorce Mediator is Michael Jonsson.
Mediation involves bringing spouses (or other people in conflict) together with a neutral professional (the mediator), whose only job is to aid and support the negotiations between them, so they can reach agreement. Acting as your Mediator, Mike provides information about the relevant law, helps develop creative settlement options, to guide both of you as you negotiate.
Mediation is intended to be a safe place in which clients have sometimes difficult conversations. Mike will make adjustments to his process to make your negotiations as fair and balanced as possible. When domestic violence is an issue, the process adjustments may be substantial in order to establish a level playing field between clients.
Stress and anxiety affect how people negotiate, but Mediation usually occurs in a relaxed, confidential, and comfortable environment, not a courtroom. In a successful mediation, you never go to court.
Mike does not and cannot act as the advocate or attorney for any client, or order them to do anything. This is a completely voluntary process in which all decisions are made only by your mutual agreement.
How does Mediation work?
Mediation clients initially meet with Mike to discuss the Mediation process, and specific needs of the clients. Mike’s ability to adjust the Mediation process in light of a client’s unique needs is a significant advantage in helping to keep the process fair and efficient. Then, in a series of sessions, each lasting between 2-3 hours, Mike facilitates the negotiations, sometimes by providing educational information about the law, and sometimes by providing options of which you may not be aware.
The length of the Mediation process depends on the complexity of the issues, and your ability to eventually work cooperatively towards compromise. For most couples, this process takes approximately three to seven sessions. For some couples there are fewer sessions; for others there are more.
Mike has had special training which allows him to adjust his mediation process for families that are in very high conflict. If you and your spouse are in a very high conflict relationship, including one involving domestic violence, please contact Mike for a free process consultation to see if his process can be adequately adjusted for safe and balanced negotiations. We will not proceed with a mediation unless we believe we can establish and maintain a reasonably level playing field between our clients.
With rare exception, we prepare all documents required by the Court. We also handle any filings or service of process to help process the paperwork through the Court.
While Mediation sometimes includes the attorneys for each client, this process normally involves only the clients and the Mediator. Nonetheless, we encourage our Mediation clients to retain attorneys for advice about their respective rights, and to review any documents before they are signed, even if their attorneys do not participate in actual negotiations on their behalf during Mediation sessions.
In recent years, Mediation has benefited from the occasional incorporation of other divorce professionals. Financial Professionals are used to help clients with complicated financial issues, and Child Professionals can help with custody and parenting issues. Mike may recommend the use of these, or other professionals depending upon your particular needs. The participation of additional professionals allows for further custom tailoring of the Mediation process, depending on client needs and financial resources, but no additional professionals are hired unless clients choose to hire them.
Mediation is also useful to help resolve more than just divorce. It’s a great process for negotiating prenuptial agreements. Family Mediation also effective for non-married families, and disputes between spouses and cohabitants who want to stay together, but need help negotiating the social contract between them (e.g., who handles the checkbook, or who is responsible for getting the kids to soccer games on which days).
Call us at 916-921-7000, or email us at email@example.com, to schedule an appointment with Mike, to discuss whether Mediation is the right process option for you and your family.