Good preparation is essential for any worthwhile endeavor, and divorce mediation is no exception.
Pay particular attention to the following four areas to help make the mediation process go as smoothly as possible.
Discuss mediation with your spouse
Cooperation forms the basis of divorce mediation. You and your spouse will work together to arrive at an agreement that is satisfactory to you both. Discuss the option with your soon-to-be-ex. If you believe you can work as a team and cooperate in resolving any issues, the next step is to schedule a meeting with a mediator.
Develop your terms
As you begin mediation, you should have a good grasp of terms: what you want to keep and what you are willing to give up. To prepare, make a list of every asset you can think of. This includes the marital home, vehicles, bank accounts and retirement accounts, stocks, insurance policies, credit cards, jewelry, collections and furniture.
Set the range
Setting the range of your terms refers to the boundaries you want to establish. For example, you should have a plan in mind for raising your children. Through mediation, you and your spouse can decide the questions of child support and visitation as well as who will take care of the children if anything should happen to you.
Remembering “best interests”
In matters pertaining to children, you should follow the example of the court and base all your decisions on the children’s best interests. Issues concerning child-rearing can become emotional, but you can rely on your mediator’s guidance in reaching solutions that work for you and the other parent. When making your pre-mediation list, remember to add any questions or concerns you have about helping your children get past the family breakup.
Looking at benefits
As compared with litigation, mediation is less complicated, less expensive and less time-consuming. It is also much less stressful for the divorcing couple and their children. Advance preparation added to the spirit of cooperation helps you end your marriage in a well-ordered, more peaceful manner—which also happens to be a good way to begin the next phase of your life.