Donna Soules has mediated many family conflicts since she began
her practice in 1993. She assists parties to resolve issues of
parenting plans and division of assets.
Initially, a pre-mediation session is arranged separately with
each party prior to the mediation to:
- determine the appropriateness of the issues
- assess the willingness of all parties to mediate
- provide an opportunity to meet the mediator
- explain the mediation process and the mediator's role
- discuss difficult issues
- assess any concerns of each party
- determine the ability of each party to negotiate a fair agreement
- design an agenda of topics to discuss
Once the pre-mediation session is complete and the appropriateness
of the mediation is determined, a three-hour session is scheduled.
The length of time needed to successfully complete a mediation
depends on a number of factors:
- the number of issues to be resolved.
- the emotional readiness of the participants.
- the amount of preparation each party has completed to bring
to the sessions.
- the willingness of the parties to reach an agreement.
- the ability of each party to negotiate a fair agreement, with
the assistance of the mediator.
In family mediations, the participants are expected to:
- communicate openly and honestly
- provide all relevant information
- listen without interruption
- keep an open mind
- speak from their own perspectives by using "I" language
- refrain from judging and blaming others
- clarify assumptions
- communicate respectfully
The mediator's role is to:
- guide the process
- provide a safe and supportive climate for the discussion of
- be neutral and not take sides
- refrain from giving advice
- focus on the agenda topics and keep the process on track
- manage the emotional climate
- assist people to listen and understand each other
- help people follow the guidelines they have designed
- support people to talk about difficult topics they wish to
- keep the interactions respectful