Family and Divorce Mediation

Overview of Mediation

The firm’s Family and Divorce Mediator is Mike 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, and guides you as you negotiate.

Mediation is a structured calm environment in which clients can have difficult conversations, and negotiate solutions.  In order to make communications between clients effective, Mike will make adjustments to his mediation process to make negotiations as fair and balanced as possible.  Sometimes the process adjustments may be hardly noticeable; at other times, such as when active domestic violence or safety is a concern, clients may be required to negotiate from remote locations.  Whether substantial or not, process adjustments are made to support clients and their successful negotiations.

Process adjustments also help reduce stress and anxiety, which affect how people negotiate.  Another big stress reducer: the entire process occurs in Mike’s office, and not in court (a location which breeds stress and anxiety).

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 usually takes two to seven sessions.  Some couples are successful with fewer sessions; for others they need a few more.  Regardless of the number, the process goes at the pace determined by the clients.

Mike has had special training which allows him to adjust his mediation process to accommodate very high conflict families.  If you and your spouse are in a very high conflict relationship, including one involving any type of violence, please contact Mike for a free process consultation to see if his process can be adequately adjusted for safe and balanced negotiations.  In such circumstances, Mike will speak with each potential client individually to see if this is the right process for them.  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 get paperwork through the Court.

In recent years, Mediation has benefited from the occasional use of other divorce professionals. Financial Professionals are used to help clients with special or complicated financial issues, and Child Professionals are sometimes useful in helping parents understand the developmental needs of their children, and with custody and other parenting issues. Mike may recommend the use of these, or other professionals, depending upon your particular needs.  The use of these professionals allows for more 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 and marital agreements.  Family Mediation is also effective for non-married families negotiating cohabitation agreements.

Call us at 916-921-7000, or email us at, to schedule an appointment with Mike, to discuss whether Mediation is the right process option for you and your family.