Part 1: Pre-Mediation Consultation

Pre-Divorce Mesa Mediation Consultation with Out-of-Court SolutionsJohn and Mary Smith arrive at my office for a pre-mediation consultation. Mary had called to arrange for the consultation, informing my assistant of her intent to divorce John. Just as passengers preparing to travel by airplane select a particular airline, flight, and seat number, people preparing for mediation such as Mary and John select a particular mediator, setting, and
meeting schedule.

After briefly reviewing the intake forms each of them completed, I escort Mary and John to a conference room and begin the consultation.


“Let me start out by saying that although I’m glad to meet you both, it’s always kind of awkward for me in the beginning because I imagine that this is not the happiest of occasions.”

“Uh huh,” Mary replies.

“You got that right,” John says, caustically.

“Okay then. I see from Mary’s intake form that a counselor, Jane Jones, referred you. Is she your counselor, Mary, or did she see both of you?”

“Just me. He wouldn’t go,” Mary answers.

“Did Jane give you any written information about me or Out10 Family Mediation — Divorce of-Court Solutions?”

“Yes. She gave me your brochure and some other material.”

“And did you have a chance to review it?”

“Yes,” Mary replies.

“What about you, John? Did you have a chance to look at this information or perhaps visit our Website?”

“No,” he curtly replies.

“Then let me give you one of our brochures along with a list of frequently asked questions. And would it be helpful if I were to start by briefly telling you about my background?”

“I guess so,” John says, indifferently.


“Sure,” she answers.

“I’m 59 years old and have four children, two from my first marriage which ended in divorce, and two from my second. I practiced law in California for 19 years, starting in 1969. After my divorce I began to look inward and went back to school at night to study psychology. In 1987 I sold my interest in the law firm I founded (which by that time had grown to about 140 people), took over the management of a family-owned distribution company, and continued my studies in psychology. I first achieved a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. Then in 1993 I earned a Ph.D. in Human Behavior Psychology, sold my interest in the family-owned business, and pondered my next move. “It was then that I became aware of a continuing legal education class in mediation. You see, I’ve come to believe that nothing happens by coincidence. In fact, I’ve come to define coincidence as ‘God’s way of remaining anonymous’ because within a few hours of starting this class in mediation, I sensed that this was the kind of work I was meant to do. “Since moving to Arizona in 1994, I’ve been a full-time mediator, helping people such as yourselves work through all of the legal, financial, tax, and parenting aspects of divorce, while remaining attentive to what is known as the ‘grief process.’ By this I mean the stages of grief we all go through when dealing with the loss of a significant relationship. You see, unless we choose to selfPre-Mediation Consultation 11 medicate through alcohol, drugs, food, work and so on, we all go from denial (this isn’t really happening to me), to anger, frustration, and resentment, to bargaining (if you do this I’ll do that), to sadness and depression, and finally into acceptance. In this acceptance phase, we eventually accept that this is the way things are.”

After pausing momentarily to let this information sink in, I continue:

“These stages of grief don’t happen sequentially; one doesn’t necessarily follow the other. In fact, I remember during my divorce that one day I was angry as hell and the next day I was crying. I see that you’re nodding your head, Mary. Do you relate to this?”

“Yes, I certainly do,” she emphatically replies.

“And what about you, John?”

“I don’t know,” he says.

“Well, I see from your intake form that you answered ‘yes’ to the question ‘Interest in reconciliation’ while Mary answered ‘no.’ I don’t want to be presumptuous, but this may indicate that you and Mary are in different stages in the grief process. I want you to know that I’m not making a judgment about this; there’s nothing good or bad about it.”

“I don’t want a divorce! She should try harder! I can’t believe she thinks divorce is good for our kids!” John insists, raising his voice.

“I hear you. So you want Mary to try harder to stay in the marriage?”

“Yeah!” John snaps back.

“And what about you, Mary?”

… To Be Continued. Check back for Part 2!

Out of court solution also specializes in family mediation services in the phoenix arizona area.

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