Divorce mediation is a valuable process that allows couples to save thousands of dollars on attorney's fees and reach an agreement more quickly than if they had to take their case to trial. Divorce mediation requires a lot of communication and negotiation between spouses.
It’s important to prepare for your mediation sessions in order to make the most of them. These tips will help you share your side of the story and make a convincing case for your own needs.
Before you begin, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what divorce mediation really entails, and how it can benefit you. Your mediator is a designated neutral third party who can help you and your spouse discuss important issues related to your divorce.
Since the mediator is neutral, they will not argue on behalf of either spouse. Instead, the mediator will serve as an expert and guide your discussion through relevant topics including child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, and division of the marital assets.
Your Orange County mediator may also present possible solutions for you and your spouse to discuss, and make you aware of any relevant laws. Mediators are also trained in conflict resolution, which is helpful when you are discussing sensitive topics.
Ultimately, though, mediation is between you and your spouse, and you will make all the final decisions according to your needs. It is important to come prepared to your mediation session(s).
Mediation meetings can go by quickly. There’s always a lot to discuss, and being in a room with your ex can be tense. That’s why it’s important to figure out a list of topics that you want to discuss and reach an agreement on.
Every couple is different, and you may have unique concerns outside of common issues like property division and child custody. Business shares or mortgages may not show up on mediation checklists, but they’re essential for some couples.
Additionally, you may want to make sure there’s time to discuss an issue that predominantly affects you. If insurance coverage is one of your main concerns, make sure to bring it up during a mediation session.
Mediation is all about the compromise between you and your spouse. When you come to meetings with a list of goals, including both wants and needs, the process can go much more quickly.
It helps to prioritize certain goals and have a clear idea of which requests are most important to you. For example, keeping a particular car may be your top priority, or you may want to have primary custody of your children.
You likely won’t meet all of your goals, but it will be easier to argue and bargain for them if you have a list that you can refer to.
When you compare your list to your spouse’s goals, you can find a way to check off as many of each person’s goals as possible. Mediation is all about drafting an agreement that is satisfactory to both parties.
A major part of any divorce settlement is dividing up assets, property, and debt. In order to make any real progress on this front, you will both need to provide a list of your assets, tax documents, and other information.
If you have substantial assets, you may want to get appraisals before your mediation session. That way, you’ll have an accurate idea of what different properties and items are worth.
It’s always helpful if both parties are as transparent as possible regarding finances. If you are forthright and present proof of your finances, you can get to work figuring out each person’s financial status and needs.
You may plan to include spousal or child support payments in your divorce agreement. If that’s the case, you may want to create a budget that will accurately reflect your financial circumstances.
This step is essential whether you are the one seeking support or finding ways to make payments and still cover your personal expenses.
There are many options for spousal support payments, ranging from permanent arrangements to limited and temporary ones designed to help a lower-earning spouse get through the divorce or obtain training for a higher-paying job.
This is your chance to explain your monthly needs and hash out realistic expectations about spousal support or other payments, so come prepared!
It’s much easier to make suggestions and create goals when you have an understanding of basic divorce laws. That way, you can enter negotiations with more realistic expectations for what you will get in the settlement.
Conversely, you will also be able to recognize whether or not your spouse’s requests are reasonable.
Your mediator will also have the relevant legal knowledge to steer you in the right direction, but it will be easier to further your own goals with a little knowledge of the system that you will be working within.
When talking about your goals and what you want from the divorce settlement, it’s important to get into your reasoning behind each proposal. You are your own greatest advocate in this situation, so explain your thoughts carefully.
If it helps, write down talking points ahead of your meeting so you can read them off clearly and share your thinking when it counts. You may be surprised how far you can get with a logical discussion and the shared goal of drafting an acceptable divorce agreement.
Divorce Mediation of California provides a flat-rate mediation service that will be with you from the moment you file for divorce until you’re ready to file your divorce agreement.
We handle all the paperwork and ensure that you never have to visit the courthouse.
By working closely with our team of mediators, couples can be sure that they are able to complete their divorce on their own terms.
Schedule a free consultation to see if you are a good fit for our services, contact us at the Divorce Mediation of California today.