Mediation is an excellent way for divorcing spouses to avoid unnecessary legal expenses and time-consuming court cases. But preparation is still key to a successful mediation. As you prepare for your own mediation sessions, here are a few key things to clearly identify.
1. Your Assets and Obligations
In order to successfully negotiate the financial end of your divorce, you need to know exactly what those financials entail. Gather up all your financial information in as much detail as possible — not just what is owned or owed but also when it was purchased, how funds were used, what future obligations remain, and the present value. Thoroughness will be key.
2. Your Goals
Mediation can get bogged down if you aren't sure what you really want. Avoid this by creating a "road map" of goals to guide your side of negotiations. Write down what you want to achieve in mediation in detail. Do you want a quick resolution? Do you need future financial support? Do you intend to maintain a good co-parenting relationship? Each of these goals is achievable if you stay focused on making progress and don't let talks get sidetracked.
3. Your Spouse's Goals
Along with understanding your goals, consider your spouse's goals. Mediation is designed to find the most mutually beneficial arrangement. If you know what is important to your spouse and what motivates them, you'll be better able to tailor your negotiations to make compromises that will mean more to them but less to you. And if you both can find an agreement that's fair to each, mediation will be quicker and less painful.
4. State Rules
Each state handles divorce proceedings a little differently. Familiarize yourself with the rules in your state so you know what is negotiable and what isn't. A "community property" state divides assets differently than an "equitable distribution" state, for instance. If you live in the latter, you may need to focus on comparative earning power and assets rather than an even split of money.
5. Your Priorities
Determine your priorities in advance. Decide what you're really willing to "give" on and what you aren't. If there are kids involved, for example, your priority may be to ensure good financial and emotional support for them after the divorce. And to secure good emotional support may mean setting aside some of your lesser interests as an aggrieved spouse in order to do what's best for the children.
If you sit down and figure out these key parts of your mediation plan before starting, you're sure to have a more successful time. Need help identifying your goals, your assets, or the rules you must abide by? Learn more by meeting with an experienced divorce mediator today who can tell you more about how to mediate divorce.Share