Parties who are going into a divorce mediation can be understandably nervous. They don’t know what to expect or how the process goes. Many probably envision themselves shut in a conference room and forced to hash out every good, bad, and ugly detail face-to-face, in front of a room full of people. That thought is enough to give anyone anxiety. However, thankfully, it does not reflect how mediation works.

On mediation day, parties are eventually placed in separate rooms with their respective attorneys at the agreed upon location. Mediators can have their own office space where they prefer to perform negotiations. Otherwise, it can take place at either attorney’s office if all parties are in agreement. The appointed mediator will go back and forth between the separate rooms communicating and negotiating with the parties. He or she would have already been provided information prior to the mediation date regarding issues to address and assets that need distributing.

Everything you say to a mediator is confidential, and you must be completely open and honest for the process to work. In order for an agreement to be reached, the mediator must know and understand the valid concerns from both sides. In addition, your up-front honesty will allow the process to move along at a quicker pace. Mediations are long and tiring. Plan to be at the location for a bare minimum of half a day, but more than likely for 8 hours or more. Consider bringing snacks, drinks, and other essentials. Also dress comfortably, but make sure to look presentable just as if you were entering a courtroom.

Even though mediation is a long process, consider the benefits. You can save literally thousands of dollars in legal fees by settling a case outside of court. You can maintain your and your family’s privacy. Finally, you won’t be stuck waiting on a court date and can move forward with your new life much quicker.