There are few things more stressful than entering the divorce litigation process. For this very reason, many couples choose mediation instead. Please read on to learn more about divorce mediation and how to make the best of your mediation sessions with our experienced divorce mediators.
How Do I Prepare For Divorce Mediation?
You may prepare for mediation by looking at a list of focus areas that are common in mediation and divorce. If you are working with an attorney, have them help you focus on exactly what you are going to mediation to accomplish. Begin collecting important documents that relate to the issues that you want to mediate. For example, previous Court Orders and temporary agreements, if relevant. If you are mediating issues regarding parenting, put together all documentation that covers child care and parenting schedules and health care information.
If you are mediating financial issues, make a written inventory of your marital assets. Try to be as inclusive as possible when making your list, and ensure you include owned property, valuable possessions, businesses, checking and saving account information, and retirement account information.
Make a Plan but Be Flexible
Having a well-formulated plan is vital in successful divorce mediation. To start, a mediator will need to understand your goals, i.e. what you absolutely must have, what you would like to have, and what is not as important to you. For example, your reasons for wanting to retain the marital residence after your divorce. You should also compile your information about your ability to afford and maintain it.
Resist sending your spouse or partner emails giving ultimatums or discussing volatile issues before the mediation. A mediator understands the stresses of all conflict resolution processes and will work with you to stay on track and discuss only the issues that you are in mediation to focus on and resolve. Do your best to clarify your stance on what you are going to be mediating and what you are willing to do to make a fair agreement. Here are a couple more tips on preparing for mediation:
- Write down the issues that you want to discuss. Inform your mediator during your first solo session.
- If you are also working with an attorney and have filed any temporary agreements with the Court, make sure that you make these available to the mediator (i.e. temporary parenting agreement, temporary financial agreement)
- Review the mediation agreement and be aware of confidentiality rules and what behavior can end the mediation.
Maintain Your Composure and a Positive Attitude
This advice begins far before any mediation proceedings take place. Both you and your spouse are likely going through one of the most difficult times of your lives. However, letting emotions get the better of you and acting out of anger, fear, or otherwise puts you in a compromising position, particularly when the future of your children is at stake.
An experienced divorce mediator understands your frustrations, but I also urge my clients to try and see the big picture. If you and your spouse have agreed to mediation, that is a great first step toward finding a mutually beneficial outcome for your divorce proceedings. The process is not always easy and rarely simple, but the results are often worth the effort.
Keeping a positive and open mind is favorable not only in the mediation process, but also for your well-being. Mediation or other forms of collaborative divorce are tools that are best used by individuals who are willing to work together toward an amicable resolution.
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