How does Team Mediation Work & Why is It So Effective?

Congratulations! You are considering mediation as the process for resolving your divorce. In contrast to litigation, mediation is the sane, efficient and cost effective way to work through your potentially difficult issues and preserve your family relationships. At Peace Talks, we use the “Team Mediation” approach and we want to share with you why this is so effective.

First, you are entering a process where you and your partner will be in control of the outcome. In other words, you will determine the terms of your property division, the planning for your children, and any child or spousal support. This freedom allows you to design an agreement that works for you and your family’s needs, not one dictated by the court system.

Next, a team will be assembled to facilitate your mediation sessions. Who are the team members and why is each one important to the process? As you are aware, part of the divorce procedure is to divide your community property – that is the property and assets acquired during your marriage. To assist with the financial matters, Peace Talks offers a financial neutral to help you organize, evaluate, budget and divide your property. The financial works with both parties to provide an objective view of your finances. This person is a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFATM) who has had advanced training in the specialization of divorce. By having a financial expert involved, you will have an accurate assessment of your financial picture and be able to make informed choices.

Another valuable team member is the mental health coach. From our experiences at Peace Talks, we have witnessed the traumatic and volatile nature of the divorce process. During mediation, you and your partner may have feelings of anger, hurt, humiliation, loss, abandonment or perhaps powerlessness. All these emotions are normal within the context of this overwhelming event. Our mental health coaches are professionally trained family and child specialists who are present in the room to help you process your emotions and keep the mediation moving as fast or as slowly as you want. If necessary, you may have a separate session with them in their office or request a break to get the mental health support you need.

The final team member is the attorney. This person has background in family law and can answer the “legal” questions that arise in connections with property, parenting or support issues. Having an attorney present also gives you an idea of what potential litigation outcomes could occur if your matter was proceeding in court instead of at Peace Talks. While the attorney is not there to give you specific legal advice, she will provide legal information when it is relevant or requested. You and your partner are always able to seek your own outside legal counsel at any point in the process.

Clearly a team approach ensures that all of your needs, whether financial, emotional or legal, will be met during Peace Talks mediation. Our goal is to make the process as cost effective, efficient and healthful as possible. We know when you have children their best interests are your focus and we want to achieve a successful outcome so that you can continue to interact with each other and your children for a lifetime. Call us so that our team can help make this happen for you!

Mediation Training: Family Law

Mediation Training:  Family Law

Here at Peace Talks we get a lot of questions about how to become a mediator.  For the full story, here’s a link to the “how to become a mediator” blog post.

 We also offer a mediation training program.  It’s a 25 hour program on DVD.  It also comes with a 220 page manual so you will have all of the forms and templates which we reference in the video program.


This beginning family law mediation training program was edited down from a full week 40 hour training so you get the full experience of a live mediation training without having to leave your home.

Here’s an exerpt from the DVD set: 5 Sources of Conflict.  Take a look and you can see exactly what the training looks like.


In fact, there are a lot of samples from the DVD set on our Peace Talks You Tube Channel. Plus lots of other interesting stuff.

It is approved for California MCLE and I can issue a certificate of completion once you notify me that you’ve completed the entire course.

 California does not certify mediators, so this is not a “certification” course but it will satisfy the minimum requirements to sign up for most mediation panels. Here’s the link to join the Los Angeles Superior Court mediation panel: For more information on the Los Angeles Superior Court mediation program, click here:

Here is a summary of the topics included:

Why mediation?

      • What we will do in this training
      • Value, benefits and results of mediation for mediators and clients
      • Uses for mediation and mediation skills
      • Who is a mediator?
      • Mediation styles and signatures
      • Other types of ADR

How mediation works from first contact to agreement

      • Mediation process overview
      • Convening
      • Mediation orientations (link is a video!)
      • Session structure (joint sessions, caucuses, preliminary appointments)
      • When the clients arrive
      • Ground rules and the agreement to mediate: the first agreements
      • Therapeutic intake
      • Setting the agenda


Role Play:  your first mediation session (intake through agenda)

What is conflict?

      • Our values surrounding conflict
      • Moore’s 5 sources of conflict
      • The nature of family conflict
      • Conflict resolution strategies

Negotiation techniques and demonstrations

      • Interest based negotiations
      • BATNA and WATNA
      • Reality testing
      • Doubt and dissonance
      • The psycho legal approach
      • Bias and impartiality
      • Neutrality redefined:  invested, but not aligned or biased
      • Getting to Yes
      • Pacing and transitions

Mediation Planning

  • Setting up success
  • Case conferencing
  • Evaluation and feedback

Mediation Planning role play:  the first agenda items

Communication in Mediation

      • Mediator goals when listening
      • Mediator goals when speaking
      • Communication techniques:
        • Active listening
        • Summarizing, reframing and rephrasing
        • Empathy
        • Naming, and making the hidden transparent
        • 10 Tips for asking questions
        • Using neutral language

Helping clients through the process

      • Mediation readiness
      • Support systems
      • Setting the intention

The Emotional Divorce and Mediating Solid Parenting Plans

      • Ambivalence
      • Grief
      • Re-capitulation and Re-traumatization
      • Anatomy of a parenting plan

The Legal Divorce

  • Child support,
  • Spousal support
  • Property division                             
  • Drafting agreements

 The Legal Divorce: domestic violence

 Role play: Parenting Plan Mediation

 Hot topics in mediation:  comparison of ethical standards, reporting requirements, mediation confidentiality, professional development, practice development, future trends, career opportunities

Final Role Play:  from therapeutic intake to agreement