For some couples, divorce is much easier when you do it through mediation instead of through the court system. In fact, many courts are actually asking people to try mediation first before taking their divorce to court. For some couples, this is a great way to finalize the divorce and move on in a healthy way; however, preparing for mediation is not the same as preparing for court. Here is what you should expect from mediation with divorce.
Talk about it.
In order for mediation to work, you and your ex need to be open to it. If one of you attends the mediation with a bad attitude, then it’s not going to work. Instead, be sure you talk about mediation versus the court and ensure you’re both on the same page when it comes to settling the divorce quickly and amicably.
Your mediation will discuss all your possessions and assets, and the mediator will be there to help the two of you discuss what you have and who should get what. To do this effectively, it’s important to have a list of your assets and properties in front of you so you can discuss it in detail. In addition to simply knowing what you have, it’s important to also know what you want. This doesn’t mean being greedy either. Instead, be rationale about what it is you want from the divorce and then use that in your mediation discussion.
As you’re preparing these lists, think long and hard about what you simply won’t let go of and make two lists—the list of your must-haves and a list of the things you can negotiate. Chances are your ex will have a similar list, so be sure you’re open to compromise on their must-have list so they will return the favor for yours.
Aside from what you want, you need to be sure all debts are also accounted for. This way, each of you will walk away knowing who is responsible for what payments, whether it’s a mortgage, a credit card, a student loan, etc. Depending on what is happening with your living situation, some couples opt to put the house up for sale and use the profits from the sale to pay for any outstanding debts you share together. Again, talk to the mediator about this, but ensure you have disclosed all debts upfront.
Do your research.
Some mediators will allow you to have your legal counsel in the room while others will not. It’s best to do your research ahead of time and know whether or not your attorney can be there. If so, be sure they are there to help accurately represent you and your needs. To do this effectively, talk with your legal representative beforehand to ensure they fully understand what you want from the divorce.
Aside from knowing what to expect the day of, you should also research potential mediators. You and your spouse should agree on the same one together so each of you feels as if your best interests are in mind. If you cannot seem to agree on someone, ask the court to provide one for you, as this can be done without any prejudices.
Opting for mediation is a healthy way to get divorced and do so amicably. If you and your ex can work together, you’ll find it’s less expensive, quicker, and easier on everyone involved. If you find yourself facing divorce, consider the benefits of mediation before starting the process through your family court system.