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The Initial Consultation

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The Initial Consultation

The Initial Consultation by Daniel R. Burns{2:18 minutes to read} It is my practice to meet with a couple when they first contact me about my services. I believe this meeting is so important that I require it for all of my clients before I will begin working with them. I do not charge for this meeting.

During this preliminary session, which I refer to as a consultation, I discuss the mediation process, review my confidentiality requirements, and discuss my fees. I also provide the couple with a Law Summary, give them some suggestions on how to make the mediation process more effective, and provide them with a list of the financial documents I want them to bring to the first mediation session.

Do I need a meeting to accomplish these things? Probably not. I could send all of this information to them via email. But I still require this appointment. Why? Because it allows me to determine if I can help them best, before they start the process.  

It also allows me to:

  • Assess the ability of each of them to understand the process and advocate for themselves. This is to ensure they are not being pressured into making decisions that are not in their best interest.
  • Make sure they both understand my requirement of full financial disclosure. I tell all the couples I work with that they can come to any agreement that works for them but they must be making informed decisions. And informed decisions start with full disclosure.
  • Confirm that they are appropriate for mediation; that is, I want to size them up to make sure they understand the process and agree to participate in attempting to reach an agreement that works for the other person as well as themselves. If they are simply trying to force an agreement on their spouse that is contrary to his or her best interest, I let them know at that meeting that I won’t be able to help them.

It’s like building a house; everything starts with a firm foundation. I build the foundation at the consultation and then use the mediation sessions to help a couple create a lasting agreement that works for each of them.

Daniel R. Burns

Attorney & Mediator
1187 Troy Schenectady Road
Latham, NY 12110
Phone: (518) 529-5200

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2017-01-30T11:33:43+00:00 By |Dan Burns, Mediation|

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