Divorce mediation has great advantages over the aggressive and unpredictable process of divorce litigation. Mediation gives you and your soon-to-be ex more flexibility and control over the final outcome on critical divorce-related matters, such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and equitable distribution. Here are a few tips that can make divorce mediation work for you and help you achieve your goals with minimum conflict.
Be Judicious in Your Choice of a Mediator
Your divorce mediation is ultimately only as good as the mediator who is conducting the process. Skilled divorce mediators will maintain an objective, neutral approach to all the contentious family law matters in order to facilitate a swift and effective resolution. They will help both sides focus on their best interests rather than be adversarial towards each other.
The most successful divorce mediators are non-judgmental, empathetic, creative, and are highly skilled in all areas of divorce. They are articulate and have the ability to explain the facts in complex divorce issues to help both parties adopt a realistic position. Choose a divorce mediator who has the tenacity of purpose, adaptability, experience, and a proven track record in their field. A good mediator will also explain the various points in a mediation where you may seek attorney advice or input if you and or your spouse so desires.
Be Committed to the Mediation Process
While a quality divorce mediation means that half the battle is already won, it still requires you and your spouse to be prepared to go through the full mediation process. In the preliminary meeting, the mediator will have general conversations understanding where you each are in the process and understand whether you have made any plans in moving forward. Subsequently, the mediator will give you a list of documents to share that will serve as information in helping you come to agreement.
Typically couples become more relaxed as the mediation moves forward in understanding it is a non adversarial process where the mediator is helping both individuals in making decisions in the best way possible to come to agreement.
Be a Good Listener and Keep an Open Mind
At the outset, you or the other party might begin with certain pre-conceived notions about the contentious matters related to property division, child custody, spousal support, or child support. For instance, you might be insistent upon keeping the house. But during the course of mediation, you may have the opportunity to ask yourself whether you can afford to buy out the other party’s share or do you really need a big house in the first place?
Similarly, if you and your spouse are unable to agree on parenting time schedules, after discussing it and getting input from the mediator, the decision will then become clear. In mediation, the focus will shift from the parents’ own preferences to the best interests of the children.
Prepare Well for the Mediation
Make a careful note of the advice and instructions that the divorce mediator may give to both prior to the beginning of the process. The mediator will ask you for documentation and it may be necessary to have the home evaluated and other assets.
The more prepared you are, the more quickly you will come to resolution through mediation.