When considering divorce mediation, it’s important to understand how to prepare for the proceedings in advance. Taking the time to prepare for divorce mediation can help you to save significantly on legal fees, reduce stress, minimize conflict, and protect your children from a contentious divorce proceeding.
1. Locate an Experienced Divorce Mediator
The most important step you can take to prepare for divorce mediation is to locate an experienced divorce mediator. Regardless of how amicable a divorce proceeding may be, the issues that arise in the mediation process are sensitive in nature. Furthermore, divorce proceedings tend to involve complicated financial matters. As such, your privacy should be guarded. The mediator you select should be not only someone with whom you feel comfortable during this emotional time but also someone whom you trust implicitly.
2. Take the Time to Get Your Financial Information Organized
As part of the mediation process, you will need to be prepared to bring your financial information to the proceedings. This information may involve identifying your debts as well as your assets. You should also be prepared to deliver statements that will confirm the information you are providing. An experienced divorce mediator can help to walk you through the process of understanding the necessary information and documentation you will need to provide.
3. Make a List of All Issues
Prior to going into mediation, make a point of creating a list of every issue that should be resolved through mediation. Divorce mediation proceedings can become quite involved and it can be easy to overlook an issue unless there is a list that can be referenced. Furthermore, there may be some issues that are important to you but which are not that important to your spouse. Writing down all of the issues you feel are relevant will ensure there is nothing overlooked during the mediation.
4. Set Realistic Expectations
In approaching divorce mediation, it is important to maintain realistic expectations. Be aware that mediation does not work the same way as a trial or even arbitration. It is not up to the mediator to decide how things should be settled. You and your spouse will need to reach an agreement involving all of the various issues. Even more importantly, keep in mind that any agreement reached during divorce mediation is typically based on some type of compromise. There would be no need for mediation if one party were willing to give the other party everything they wished. Mediation is only successful when both parties involved are willing to make a move and give up something. This does not mean that you should be willing to give up everything, but it does mean that you should be realistic and realize you will not receive 100 percent of everything you desire.
5. Maintain Notes
It is vital that you keep detailed notes regarding all discussions during your divorce mediation. While your settlement agreement will have details regarding everything to which both parties agree, it is still a good idea for you to keep your own notes.
In looking for a divorce mediator, remember the importance of finding a professional with specific experience in handling divorce mediations. When handled properly, divorce mediation offers a cost-effective and peaceful avenue for settling your divorce.