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By Dorit Goikhman
Founding Attorney

Every mediation is different

Every mediation is different, and can be customized according to the needs and desires of the party.

In fact, one of the greatest benefits of mediation is that that parties retain quite a bit of control over the process.

Here is what a typical mediation process may look like. The entire process typically takes between 3-10 two hour sessions.

The length of the process depends on:

  1. The number of issues
  2. The complexity of the issues
  3. The willingness of the parties to cooperate, and move the process along


  • Prior to mediation, the parties will be asked to disclose certain information so that the mediator can be prepared ahead of time 
  • Mediator will speak briefly with each party by phone to ensure an initial understanding of issues

Introductory Joint Session


  • Mediator explains meditator’s role
  • Mediator explains available alternatives
  • Mediator and Parties establish ground rules for mediation
  • Mediator and Parties establish agenda 
  • Mediator is open for any questions before the mediation begins

Identification of Issues

General Opening Statements

  • Each party is given an opportunity to explain their position, concerns, and priorities. (Each party will later have the opportunity to explain more on each issue). 
  • Mediator assists in identification of issues based on the parties opening statements, and other information
  • Mediator leads discussion on need for additional neutral experts, if any

Initial Discussion on Potential Points of Agreement

  • Mediator leads a discussion on  potential points of agreement
  • This will give us a good foundation for moving forwards, and will allow us to see if we can remove any issues from consideration. 

Final Decision on Issues to Be Mediated 

  • The mediator and the Parties will arrive at a list of issues to be mediated
  • General discussion to prepare for Information Gathering Session

Information Gathering Session 

  • Establish plan of information gathering (for example, finances, assets and liabilities) 
  • Establish need for experts, if any. 

Mediation Session (number of sessions varies):

Joint Session

  • Confirm Agenda for Session

Break Out Sessions and/or Joint Session

  • In most cases, the mediator will conduct breakout sessions with each Party with regards to each issue. 
  • Typically, the mediator will shuttle back and forth, helping to resolve issues one by one in the established order.
  • Some Parties may prefer that all of this work be done in a joint session.

Memorializing the Final Agreement

  • If the Parties are able to agree, mediator will assist Parties in drafting an agreement
  • Depending on the circumstances, this agreement can be incorporated into a court order or judgement

To schedule a free 30 minute mediation consultation, click here.

About the Author
Dorit L. Goikhman is a licensed attorney, with years of experience representing clients throughout Central California in business, real estate, and family matters. After witnessing numerous clients spend fortunes and waste years of their lives in litigation, Dorit became interested in mediation and all that it has to offer. Dorit is committed in helping parties work together to obtain a mutually acceptable solution to their disputes at a fair price. Her approach is to keep things simple, confidential, and efficient with the goal of preserving the parties’ assets, reputations, and sanity. If you have any questions regarding this blog, you can contact Dorit here.