How Many Sessions Will it Take to Settle My Case?

There is no way to predict how many mediation sessions it will take to settle your case.  The number of sessions you will need depends on many variables out of the mediator’s control, such as the outstanding issues involved, the complexity of the finances involved, whether custody is disputed, the opposing positions on all issues, the personalities involved, the cooperation of both parties, etc.

The purpose of the first session is to identify what the issues in the case will be and what work will have to be done to resolve those issues.  For example, parties to a divorce may need an appraisal to be prepared to negotiate for a piece of property or on a piece of jewelry.  There may also need to be a document exchange (such as retirement account information, bank statements, credit card statements, etc.)  so that each party has a comfort level with the finances of the marriage.  The second session is usually when the negotiations can really start in earnest (after all the prep work is completed following the first session). 

It is not uncommon for three or more sessions to be required before the case is settled.  However, some cases are limited to very few issues and involve two people who are dedicated to resolving them all amicably.  Those can often be resolved much faster.