Divorce mediation has become a popular alternative to litigation. Couples can talk through their issues and settle matters outside of court. The entire process is more private and more controlled than litigation, which can become embarrassing and messy if spouses fight over property division or custody in court.
Mediation can lead to more appropriate divorce terms and less overall expense for the couple splitting up when compared with a litigated divorce. However, for divorce mediation to work, the divorcing couple needs to agree on everything and sign a binding agreement at the end of the process.
Properly preparing before you sit down for mediation may increase your chances of success.
Familiarize yourself with your assets and their worth
Property settlements are often one of the biggest concerns when a couple splits up. They need to split everything from their home equity to their credit card debt, and it can be difficult to reach an agreement about what is appropriate and fair.
When you have accurate information about your assets and your spouse’s assets, including their approximate value, it will be easier for you to negotiate appropriate terms.
Identify your top priorities
Mediation often involves compromise from both spouses. You simply cannot get everything you want if you expect your ex to agree with you. You may have to make concessions in some areas to have your demands honored in others.
Identifying the matters that are the most important to you, like keeping your car or having primary legal custody of your children, will make it easier for you to negotiate during mediation.
Process your emotions about the divorce
Mediation will not be productive if spouses turn it into a battleground. You likely still have some intense, negative feelings about your ex that will make cooperation difficult. A support group, a few sessions of therapy or even some creative exercises, like painting or writing, can help you move through your negative emotions before mediation so that you can focus on what is practical and not your feelings about the matter.
Properly preparing for a divorce mediation session can help you limit how much time and money you have to invest in the end of your marriage.