Divorce Mediation - Step by Step Guide

Part I – What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a more peaceful way to handle divorce. Spouses work together with a neutral mediator to create their own agreements.

Your mediator helps you talk about all divorce topics. They explain the law and guide the discussions so that you reach agreements on everything.

Mediation saves time and money and helps you focus on doing what’s best for your family. Litigation in court can be very harmful, especially to kids, while mediation supports children’s well-being.

”We are both glad to have avoided the emotional turbulence associated with the normal divorce process. I’m very happy to have worked with [The Aurit Center].” -B.F.

In mediation, you and your spouse control the terms of your divorce agreement—not a judge.

Signs of healthy divorce

Who can benefit from divorce mediation?

Anyone going through a divorce can benefit from divorce mediation—even if you’ve already started the legal process. If you and your spouse aren’t on the same page, a divorce mediator can help you find common ground.

“…we have an agreement that was fair and 

fast and addresses all the issues…” 

– K.R.

Here’s a snapshot of the benefits of mediation:

It protects children. Fifty years of research shows that kids stay healthier when their parents use mediation, rather than choosing to battle their divorce out in court. This allows parents to work together to make custody decisions and create parenting plans with their kids’ needs in mind.

This is an image of two young boys playing with an abacus.

It saves money. At The Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation, clients pay 80–90% less. Going to court usually results in paying tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees.

It saves time. You schedule mediation meetings at your own pace and stay in control of the timeline. A divorce in court is a waiting game with delays that cause conflict to skyrocket.

It is flexible. In mediation, you reach personalized agreements that work for your situation. You’re not stuck with a one-size-fits-all court decision made by a Judge.

Everything’s private. Mediation is 100% private and confidential. In court, personal details are made public.

It’s cooperative. Meditation supports you and your spouse in working together. This leads to a healthier divorce, which is especially important if you have children.

It’s less stressful. Mediation reduces conflict and stress. Court increases conflict and stress. Your mediator will support you through the entire process.

You stay in control. You and your spouse make the decisions. You determine the final outcome, not a judge.

It’s convenient. With online mediation, you can attend meetings from wherever is most convenient for each of you. You can meet together on the same device or from separate locations. There’s no need to travel long distances or consider traffic.

It helps you communicate. Your experienced mediator will help you both get more of what is important to you, without conflict.

This is an image of a mother pushing her child on a playground swing.

“Divorce mediation is by far the smarter and healthier route to divorce. In mediation, there is always a way to reach agreement.”

-Michael Aurit, JD, MDR

Co-Founder of The Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation

What does a divorce mediator do?

A divorce mediator is a neutral third party who helps spouses have a simple, healthy divorce. A mediator helps spouses collaborate to find the best possible solutions.

Aurit Center Certified Mediators dedicate their time to helping spouses overcome their differences, no matter how big they may seem.

“The Aurit Center made a not-so-easy process seem almost effortless.” 

– B.F.

Your Aurit Center Certified Mediator will guide you to an agreeable solution through healthy, forward-focused conversation. Your mediator can help you:

  • Identify divorce topics to address;
  • understand the law and the legal process;
  • communicate effectively;
  • weigh pros and cons based on your circumstances;
  • maintain control over your divorce terms; and,
  • find common ground so you reach agreements on every divorce issue;

Mediators personalize the experience, 

ensuring that your divorce agreement reflects

what works best for you.

How to choose the right mediator

The right divorce mediator is someone you can trust. It’s a good sign when a mediator:

✔ offers a free initial consultation

A free no-obligation consultation is a chance to learn more about mediation. At The Aurit Center, our Certified Mediators are happy to answer all your questions to start the collaborative process.

✔ makes you feel comfortable 

You will be at ease knowing you have a caring and genuine mediator.

✔ has a high success rate

Success rates show that experienced mediators help most spouses reach an amicable resolution. Aurit Center Certified Mediators have a success rate of over 95%.

✔ is trained and certified 

You want a mediator with excellent professional standards. Aurit Center Certified Mediators are highly trained and have ongoing education. 

✔ is familiar with divorce laws in your state

Legal expertise helps ensure your divorce is approved quickly and efficiently. Aurit Certified Mediators across the nation understand state-specific divorce laws.

✔ has proven experience

As a rule of thumb, you want a mediator who dedicates the majority of their practice to divorce and mediation. The more experience they have, the more options they’ll be able to suggest. Aurit Center Certified Mediators provide creative options to meet your unique needs.

offers flat fee pricing

Trusted mediators are happy to explain their flat-fee structure. Flat fees mean you know the cost beforehand and can budget accordingly. This means more financial predictability and stability. Aurit Center Certified Mediators offer personalized flat fee quotes and payment plan options.

✔ focuses on the needs of children

Your kids are your #1 priority, and the right mediator will prioritize them too. When parents focus on their children’s needs, kids adjust and thrive. Aurit Center Certified Mediators help families along a path of peace and hope. 

This is an image of two sisters on a bed, with their cat in the foreground.

✔ convenience

Caring mediators want to reduce your stress. Aurit Center Certified Mediators offer flexible, online services. You choose the time and place for your online meetings.

✔ satisfied clients

Trusted mediators have an excellent reputation. Check out testimonials and online reviews to see what The Aurit Center’s clients thought about the process.

“The Aurit Center provided a comfortable environment

and helped navigate us through the rougher parts

of negotiations with great sensitivity.”


Part II – The Divorce Mediation Process

Mediation is a creative and flexible process that helps spouses create their own divorce agreements.

“I never would have thought this [Aurit Center] process would go so smoothly.” 

– K.T.

Before we get into the details, here’s a quick rundown of the different stages of the mediation process:

  1. Schedule your free 1-hour consultation: An expert mediator will explain the process so you know exactly what to expect and answer all of your questions.
  2. Reach personalized agreements: Your mediator will raise each financial and parenting topic, explain the law, and guide a respectful conversation so that you reach your best possible agreements. You will understand all of your options and make agreements that work best for you and your kids.
  3. Finalize your divorce documents: You will each review your final divorce documents with your agreements and get legal advice—only if you choose. After you both approve and sign your final documents they will be filed with the court, and the judge will finalize your divorce.

The three steps of The Aurit Center's mediation process.

Gathering information

State law requires divorcing spouses to share information about

  • the things they own,
  • any money they owe, and
  • the income they make.

Your Mediation Questionnaire will help you organize all of this information.

You will receive your Questionnaire before your first session. Your mediator will answer any questions you have about financial information or documents.

“Of course, divorce is difficult to go through but I could 

not have imagined it happening any other way!”

 – P.F.

Topics of Discussion

Your Aurit Center Certified Mediator will bring up all of the divorce-related topics that you need to discuss. They’ll also explain any legal concepts you need to know to decide what will be best for your situation.

Three main topics are often central to divorce mediation:

  • marital property, also called shared, common or community property;
  • financial support; and
  • child custody and parenting time.

Every divorce is different. Mediation is personalized to your unique needs.

Your Aurit Center Certified Mediator will help you identify topics and guide the conversation toward the best solution for your family.

Finalizing your divorce 

Once you and your spouse agree on all divorce matters, your mediator will document the terms in writing.

In most states, your mediator will draft your final legal divorce documents called a Consent Decree, Divorce Decree, or Judgment of Divorce.

In other states, the mediator drafts a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which details the agreements reached in mediation and is used to create a Decree.

After you’ve both reviewed, approved, and signed the Decree, it goes to the court for approval. And when the judge approves it, the divorce is official.

Each step on your divorce mediation journey is about working together, talking openly, and being respectful.

Schedule a consultation with an Aurit Center Certified Mediator near you to learn more about your state’s mediation process.

“It was a load off my mind and emotions to

know everything was taken care of.”

 – L.B.

Part III – Dividing Assets, Debts, and Other Marital Property 

In divorce mediation, your mediator will guide you both in talking about how best to divide assets and debts.

What types of assets and debts can be divided in divorce mediation?

In mediation, you discuss all of the assets and debts acquired during your marriage.

Your mediator will explain options, offer suggestions, and guide you and your spouse to decide what’ll happen with each asset and debt.

You each will have a chance to voice your perspectives as you make a personalized plan. The goal is to reach agreements that are acceptable to both of you.

Divorce mediation is much more flexible than court litigation. There’s far more room to creatively divide assets in a way that feels fair.

This is an image of a vase with flowers sitting on a coffee table in a living room.

To illustrate, let’s consider a family home.

In court, Judges use strict state law that can result in an immediate forced sale of the home.

In mediation, you can take a flexible approach that works best for you and your family. You can decide to sell the house when and how you want and choose how to divide the proceeds.

Oftentimes, one spouse wants to keep the home. In mediation, the amount and timing of a “buyout” is agreed on so that the other spouse gets their fair share. Your mediator will guide you to make a plan that may include refinancing or other creative ways to make a buyout work for both of you.

Spouses can come up with creative solutions that work for their unique circumstances. For instance, one spouse might keep the home while the other receives equal value from retirement accounts. Some spouses may decide on a “delayed sale” agreement. Some spouses even decide to continue jointly owning the home as an investment property.

When a judge decides what happens with the house, both spouses are often unhappy with the decision. In mediation, spouses have complete control of their agreements and have more peace of mind moving forward.

Get your free Complete Divorce Mediation Checklist to begin organizing your financial information and get a head start preparing for mediation.

Community property vs. equitable distribution

Family courts split shared marital property (common property) based on state guidelines. In contrast, in mediation, spouses choose how this split happens.

“I’m so glad we went the mediation route.” 

 – A.P.

Some states, such as California, use community property laws. These laws divide assets and debts 50/50, half to one spouse and an equal half to the other.

Many other states use equitable distribution, where assets and debts are split in a fair but maybe not equal way. In other words, a Judge decides what is “fair.” Judges can factor in each spouse’s income, the length of the marriage, and the marital standard of living.

Although property division can be complex, in mediation, spouses create personalized agreements to divide assets and debts in the way that works best for them.

Part IV – Paying Alimony and Child Support

After a divorce, the person with the higher income may need to make alimony and child support payments. This financial support lets children and co-parents maintain their pre-divorce standard of living.

Alimony and child support laws vary from state to state. Your mediator will make sure you have all the information you need to make the best possible decision.

Child support

Generally, child support payments cover the cost of the children’s education, mental and physical health, and day-to-day expenses.

All states have unique guidelines that determine child support amounts. These one-size-fits-all formulas don’t take your family’s unique circumstances into account.

This is an image of two siblings drawing on paper together.

“They did a fantastic job guiding us through the process

and keeping us on track. With their assistance, we were able 

to get through this quickly, remain civil, and put our children first!”

 – S.K.

In mediation, child support begins with a guided, respectful conversation that helps parents reach their best possible agreements.

Aurit Center Certified Mediators are well-versed in your state’s child support requirements and family laws. And they’re happy to answer any questions you have along the way.

A mediator guides and supports parents in working out a reasonable payment schedule based on the children’s best interests.

Spousal maintenance

Also known as alimony, spousal maintenance helps both spouses maintain financial stability after divorce. Alimony payments are based on factors like:

  • the length of the marriage,
  • income disparity (difference in income between spouses), and
  • living standards.

With the guidance of your Aurit Center Certified Mediator, you and your spouse can create an alimony arrangement that works for you. 

Spousal maintenance process

If your state offers a spousal support calculator, your mediator can show you how a Judge would rule on alimony in court.

Post-divorce budgets 

Your Mediation Questionnaire, provided by your mediator, will allow you and your spouse to understand your monthly expenses, including:

  • housing expenses,
  • utilities,
  • food,
  • insurance,
  • personal expenses,
  • and more.

Your mediator will help you each create an estimated budget for when you live separately after divorce. This is an effective way to reach creative agreements on child support and spousal maintenance — if applicable.

The goal is continued financial stability for both of you.

Part V – Building a Healthy Co-parenting Relationship

Mediation puts kids first.

How you and your spouse communicate during your divorce will shape how you communicate afterward as co-parents.

This is an image of a father and son playing with paintbrushes together.

Children thrive when parents communicate well after divorce.”

Karen Aurit, LAMFT

Co-Founder, The Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation

Your mediator will help you and your co-parent communicate respectfully. They help you find the best possible agreements that support your kids. This helps you be the best co-parents you can be moving forward. 

Prioritizing your children

Research shows that parents who use divorce mediation have better long-term relationships with their children compared to parents who litigate in court. 

When family law attorneys or divorce lawyers pit parents against each other, children can easily get caught in the middle. The psychological effects can be devastating.

In mediation, co-parents share the goal of doing what is best for their children. This team mindset makes it easy to come up with creative solutions that work for everyone.

Creating a parenting plan 

In mediation, co-parents work together to create a detailed parenting plan. A parenting plan covers everything related to your children’s upbringing. It outlines everything from who will pick them up from school to where they’ll spend the summer.

Even if you and your co-parent can’t seem to agree on anything, 

an Aurit Center Certified Mediator can help.

Your mediator will help you talk about what you feel is best for your children. Through balanced conversation and compromise, your mediator will help you work together to customize your parenting plan.

If child support agreements or parenting plans need to be updated after a divorce is final, co-parents can skip the courthouse by making updates in mediation. Mediation is your safety net as you co-parent over time.

Parenting Plan terms to know 

Parenting time describes how each of you will share time with your kids. It covers:

  • weekly schedules,
  • pick-up and drop-off arrangements,
  • holidays,
  • travel, and
  • vacation time.

It is personalized to your schedules and needs.

Legal decision-making describes who will make decisions about your children’s care.

This includes medical and educational decisions. It can be shared by both parents or be assigned to one parent.

You can reach creative legal decision-making agreements in mediation.

The term ‘finances related to children’, describes the costs related to:

  • child support,
  • medical care,
  • after-school activities,
  • education, and
  • tax issues related to children.

The best financial agreements are personalized.

Preserving parent-child relationships 

Mediators help co-parents stay focused on the needs and interests of their children.

This helps them reduce conflict and goes a long way toward healthy parent-child relationships.

“The Aurit Center made a not-so-easy process seem almost effortless.” 

– B.F.

Providing structure and consistency

Generally, children thrive when their lives have structure and consistency. Even the simplest daily routines help children adjust and feel safe. Being able to predict what comes next gives them a sense of stability and security.

The good news is, even as you are parenting from two homes, you can provide your children with structure, consistency, safety, stability and security.


As you build your custom parenting plan, your mediator will help you find ways to address each of your kids’ needs.

This is an image of a young child blowing seeds off a dandelion.

Minimizing conflict 

Children are resilient and able to move through transitions. However, conflict during and after the change can have lasting negative effects on them.

In mediation, you can build a strong foundation for healthy long-term co-parenting relationships.

Arranging parenting time 

It is common for children to feel torn between their parents during divorce. The parenting time schedule you choose is very important to help your kids adjust.

Children benefit when their parents create a parenting time schedule that maximizes time kids spend with each parent considering parents’ schedules, kids’ schedules, and generally what is in the best interests of children. When parents reduce conflict, research shows that it is always beneficial for children.

Rather than focusing on the concept of joint custody or sole custody, parents are wise to develop a schedule that works best for everyone.

When alternatives are necessary 

Mediation is successful even when there is high conflict between spouses. In some specific situations, it may be necessary to carefully consider alternatives. These situations might include:

  • when one spouse refuses to mediate;
  • in cases where domestic violence or abuse is recent and severe; or
  • when there is concern for the children’s safety.

A Peaceful Path to a Healthy Divorce

Choosing mediation, means you’re choosing the healthiest way to end your marriage.

Give yourself credit for prioritizing your family and picking the peaceful path through this difficult time.

This is an image of several signs pointing down different pathways.

“The Aurit Center made the process of divorce less painful.”

 – L.P.

To learn more about the mediation process, schedule your free 1-hour consultation. Your Aurit Center Certified Mediator is here for you every step of the way.

We wish you and your family the very best moving forward.