Preliminary Planning Session Preparation
As a both an attorney and trained mediator, Darren Shapiro believes that it's his duty to help the people that he works with get the best possible outcomes from their divorce proceedings. To some extent, this means offering a range of divorce strategies, including the option for alternative dispute resolution like mediation. Usually, the divorce mediation procedure with Darren Shapiro will involve two clients meeting together with Mr. Shapiro throughout the course of the negotiation. However, in some circumstances, divorce mediators like him might offer an alternative option too, which includes something called preliminary planning sessions.
Preliminary planning sessions are suggested in the mediation training strategies by mediator Forrest “Woody” Mosten and Elizabeth Scully. According to these two professionals, one of the best ways to prepare for effective mediation sessions is to initiate interactions between each client and the mediator individually, before joint sessions begin. The individual discussions are a good way to develop rapport between the parties involved and the divorce mediator, according to Scully and Mosten. Additionally, they deliver an opportunity for in-depth discussion about the nature of the case.
The question is, how can clients prepare to get the most out of both preliminary planning, and the mediation process overall?Preparing for Preliminary Planning With Review Attorneys
Often, when Darren Shapiro's clients suggest that they're interested in using mediation for their divorce proceedings, he will suggest that they also seek the assistance of a review attorney. After all, as a mediator, it's Attorney Shapiro's responsibility to remain as objective as possible. This means that he cannot offer individual advice to each side about how they should proceed with their case. A review attorney can offer legal support that a mediator is unable to provide. However, review attorneys aren't necessarily mandatory, although they are recommended, just useful.
One way that review attorneys can assist divorce mediation clients is to remind them that it's helpful to be open to the input of the mediator and consider any suggestions that they make during the proceedings. Additionally, review attorneys can suggest that parties are conscious of the goals that they want to achieve with a divorce mediator like Darren Shapiro. Through in-depth discussions, divorce mediators like Attorney Shapiro can offer guidance that help clients to consider which issues they would like to discuss during mediation. Review attorneys may also remind clients that the option for preliminary planning is a good way to build a rapport with their new mediator, to ensure that they feel as comfortable as possible during the rest of the mediation.
During preliminary planning, parties can also consider whether they want to continue with joint mediation or continue getting private sessions. Some review attorneys may have the option to attend mediation sessions where they can provide resourceful insights and remind the client of any issues they may have forgotten to talk about. However, most couples mediating with Darren Shapiro will attend their sessions alone, without the assistance of an additional attorney. Review attorneys can sometimes get in the way in the development of the initial relationship between a mediator and mediation client.How Clients Can Prepare for Preliminary Planning
Mosten and Scully's recommendations regarding the potential of preliminary planning sessions come from models designed by Dwight Golann. According to Golann, it's helpful for lawyers to take preventative planning roles when supporting clients in a divorce. Golan also suggests that divorce mediators can be helpful at counselling clients on how to approach issues like negotiation and bargaining during a divorce. If you feel that initial discussions with a mediator may be useful to you, then preliminary planning can be a good idea.
To prepare for preliminary planning, it's also a good idea to make sure that you know what you should expect going forward. Clients working with mediators like Darren Shapiro who choose to use preliminary planning will still come for an initial consultation with their partner. During this time, it will be important to discuss the needs for preliminary planning. After the consultation period is over, each party will have the option to reserve time for private planning sessions. The best way for clients to make sure that they're getting the most out of that time is for them to create a list of the issues that they would like to cover. It's possible to discuss everything from financial and emotional aspects of a divorce to things like parenting and child custody.
Make sure that you're comfortable with the idea of sharing lots of information with your mediator. During preliminary planning sessions, it's helpful for professionals like Attorney Shapiro to learn everything they can about the facts of your case. The more a mediator knows about the issues that you hope to address, the easier it will be to assist with upcoming joint negotiations. Mediators like Mr. Shapiro may even suggest that the parties they work with should gather documents from professionals that may assist with the sessions. For instance, it's useful to have bank records on hand.
Preliminary planning sessions aren't a time for divorce mediators like Darren Shapiro to provide direct legal advice; this is something that is left to the review attorney. However, Mr. Shapiro can offer information about the issues faced during divorce mediation, so that you feel more prepared for the case ahead. To learn more about the options offered in divorce mediation, and preliminary planning sessions with divorce mediators, contact the office of Darren Shapiro today on (516) 333-6555, or fill out our contact form.