How to Prepare Your Client for a Successful Mediation


Mediation is a key part of the divorce process and can often be the most effective way to resolve disputes between two parties. As attorneys, you are responsible for preparing your clients for mediation to ensure they get the best possible outcome. Today, let's discuss the process of preparing your clients for mediation.

Preparing an Opening Offer

As attorneys representing the petitioner in a case, one of your most important jobs is working with your clients ahead of time to prepare an opening offer. This simple step can save much time and effort during the mediation session.

Exchanging Necessary Information and Documents

The cornerstone of preparing for mediation is to ensure that all necessary information and documents are exchanged in advance. This includes inventory and appraisements, which are required in divorce cases. Brandi suggests agreeing to exchange inventories about two weeks before the mediation date. This gives enough time to review the inventories, verify current numbers, and request additional information. It also allows enough time to reschedule the mediation if necessary without incurring any fees from the mediator.

Gathering Crucial Financial Information

In addition to inventories and appraisements, other crucial pieces of information should be exchanged before a mediation session. Pay stubs, health insurance breakdowns, and tax returns for custody cases are important. These are vital for running a child support calculation and ensuring all financial information is available in case of any changes during the mediation process.

Overcoming Client Resistance

As Brandi points out, sometimes clients can resist turning over this information, especially if they are confident about their position in the case. However, readily available information can save time and effort during the mediation session.

Mediation Prep Meeting with Clients

Another important step in preparing for mediation is meeting with your clients beforehand. Your firm's practice should be to have a mediation prep meeting with your clients, usually via Zoom, before the mediation session. The ideal timing for this meeting is usually a week after exchanging inventories and appraisements in divorce cases or a week before in custody cases.

Analyzing Information and Preparing Strategies

These meetings allow us to go over the information that has been exchanged and analyze the inventory. This gives us an understanding of the options available and helps us prepare different strategies depending on the circumstances of the case. For divorce cases, we often show clients what a 50/50 split of assets would look like and other potential splits, such as 60/40.

Benefits of Advance Preparation

Preparing clients in advance for mediation benefits your clients and makes the process smoother for everyone involved. It gives you time to prepare different scenarios and strategies and lets you have all necessary information readily available during the session.

Providing the Mediator with Relevant Information

As Brandi mentions, another crucial aspect of preparation is providing the mediator with all relevant information and documents in advance. This includes inventory and appraisal information, financial documents, and any other key information that may be relevant to the case.

Additional Information for Custody Cases

In custody cases, the mediator should be provided with additional items beforehand. These include visitation schedules, school calendars, and other relevant documents that may help determine custody arrangements.

Achieving the Best Possible Outcome

By having all the necessary information prepared and exchanged in advance, you can help your clients achieve the best possible outcome. This also helps them understand the process better, which can ease their anxiety and make them more open to finding a resolution.


In conclusion, preparation is key to success in mediation. As attorneys, you are responsible for working with your clients ahead of time to ensure all necessary information is exchanged and strategies are prepared. This benefits your clients and makes the mediation process smoother for everyone involved.

If you are facing a divorce or custody case, work with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the mediation process and help you get the best possible outcome. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you.

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