Mediation: Where Do I Begin?
by Shawn Dickerson Law | posted in: Mediation | 0
Mediation is a wonderful alternative, if you and your spouse can agree to it, instead of heading to trial. However, just because you’re settling your divorce through mediation doesn’t mean you won't have homework. The negotiations you make during mediation will impact your family’s future. Some prep work is highly recommended before you meet for mediation.
During mediation, there will be many things to discuss and come to an agreement on. Being prepared will benefit you greatly. Start by gathering and organizing all of your important financial documents covering all of your assets and debts. Such documents should include bank balance statements, retirement funds, real estate statements, etc. Compile a spreadsheet that includes your total monthly income and expenses, such as mortgage payments, credit cards, and all existing loans. To help negotiate alimony and child support, establish a realistic budget for life post-divorce.
Leave Emotions Out Of The Equation
Emotional tension and stress will only make negotiations more difficult. Use mediation as a time to work out the logistics of your divorce, do not discuss personal aspects. We recommend finding a good therapist or joining a support group to help you work through the emotional stress. Go into mediation with respect for the process and a clear head to assure you make the best decisions possible for your family’s future.
It’s important to understand that the mediator cannot give you legal advice or counsel you in any way. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney is an essential part of preparing for mediation. Discuss the unique circumstances of your divorce with an attorney that you trust. Not only can an attorney help you prepare and organize for mediation, but they can also offer legal guidance throughout the process.
Do Your Homework
The more you understand about the process of divorce and mediation, the better prepared you’ll be. Aside from consulting with an attorney, it’s wise to educate yourself on family law in your state. Talk to close friends or family members who have already been through the process. Do some online research on reputable legal websites. It’s also a good idea to write down negotiation topics you want to cover or concerns you may have before sitting down to mediate. This will allow you to make sure mediation covers all the issues that are important to you.
Going into mediation educated and prepared will not only calm your nerves, but also ensures smoother negotiations.