The process usually begins with one or the other spouse having a telephone conversation with Robert Hammond, during which a brief review of the process is provided. Robert will usually ask that he have the opportunity to have a similar telephone conversation with the other spouse and then arrangements will be made for the parties to meet with Robert at one of the locations referred to below.
At the first session, Robert will have individual meetings with each spouse to ensure that the couple is suitable for mediation, to determine whether or not there are any security issues and to consider whether or not legal counsel should be present during the mediation sessions.
The couple will then meet jointly with Robert to review and sign the Agreement to Mediate and to provide a monetary retainer.
At this point, the first mediation session can begin. Each spouse will be given an opportunity to fully explain what he or she expects to receive in an agreement. Each spouse will be encouraged to listen and carefully consider what is important to the other person and to attempt to find areas of common interest. Robert will assist the parties to generate options for a mutually acceptance resolution of all issues. The spouses will have been encouraged to bring with them particulars of their biographical background and documentation of financial disclosure.
Continuing Sessions and Private Caucasus
Normally, a family mediation will involve at least two or three sessions before the couple are ready to have their Separation Agreement drafted. In the course of these sessions, the mediator may decide to have private meetings with each spouse to assist in getting past difficult points.
Independent Legal Advice
The parties will be encouraged to have independent legal advice during the process and before signing an agreement. If the parties have engaged lawyers, the mediator will speak to the lawyers by telephone to obtain their input.
Preparation of Separation Agreement
Once the issues have been resolved in principle, the parties may choose to have the mediator prepare a formal agreement. Parties with lawyers may elect to have counsel prepare the agreement, in which case the mediator will provide counsel with a memorandum as to issues resolved.
Upon initial consultation, the client will be advised as to the minimum retainer fee, which will cover the costs of initial contact, review of background information and financial disclosure, individual meetings and the first full mediation session. The client will be advised as to the basis for further fees, which may include, for example, further mediation sessions or the mediator’s assistance in the preparation of a formal agreement.
The family mediation offered by this office is closed mediation, meaning that it is confidential and nothing said or disclosed in mediation may be used in any other proceedings. Neither the mediator nor anyone else from this office may be compelled to testify for or against either party to the mediation as to what occurred during the mediation.