If you are concerned about the time it might take to mediate, your best course is to come PREPARED! Bringing organized documentation pertaining to all of the issues to be mediated will streamline the process and keep your time and costs down.
Mediation is meant to be approached in good faith. One party hiding assets, money, debt, etc could very well cause a breakdown of trust that could end negotiation on a dime.
Today I mediated for 7 1/2 hours without a break. I was the one mediating, so i can only assume that it must have felt several times longer for the parties involved as it was their lives that were being affected. It would have been tragic to end mediation because the parties were exhausted by the process and not because they couldn't come to agreeable terms.
If you are preparing to mediate a divorce, come prepared to discuss EVERYTHING and plan to spend the better part of the day FOCUSED on mediation. Deadlines or events planned on the same day may distracting and put undue pressure on the process.
I once observed a mediation that was mainly about the custody of a single child. One parent was down to once a week monitored visits only. Both parents realized how important it is for their child to have time and a relationship with both parents. Because they started with the same value (the child having a relationship with both parents) they were able to set up an 18 month plan toward shared custody that worked in stages.
With each 3-6 month stage of their agreement, the parent with limited time, committed to take steps to improve their living situation to benefit the child and gain trust in the other parent. Each step challenged both parties to leave their comfort zone but with a focus on the child. That was really the key to bringing them to the table. There were safe guards in place to revert back to the beginning of the stages certain conditions were not met or violated. Both parents left feeling hopeful and secure.
Often times it is difficult to make big changes all at once. Mediation is a place where both parties can openly express their concerns and hesitations and create a plan together that addresses those concerns and hesitations. When both parties work toward a common ideal/value, there is limitless options on a path forward that will protect the interests of all parties while operating in good faith.
It is so satisfying seeing parties previously in conflict work together on their own. When their agreements are their own, they are more likely to stick to them. This was a very valuable learning experience for me that I have already applied to my own life.
That's the beauty of mediation, each one is unique and can help make everyone involved more open and understanding toward others.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.