In 2019, there were more than 700,000 divorce cases in the US. The divorce process may be a catch-22 when considering the complexity of family law. If you have accumulated marital assets or have children together, however, the process can become even more complicated.
In such a situation, both parties can agree to undergo the divorce through many processes, such as litigation or divorce mediation. The latter is much more efficient, less expensive, and less time-consuming. For the best results that satisfy both parties, it’s critical to work with a reputable mediation lawyer.
Guided by family law mediators, spouses can discuss and control the divorce outcome rather than fighting it out in court. Both parties must have crucial tips to help them navigate through the complex process. So, what should you know during divorce mediation?
Here are 12 key tips in divorce mediation.
1. Choose the Right Divorce Mediation Attorney
During the mediation session, the mediator can be the individual who can help you work through your issues. Keep in mind, however, that all mediators are not the same. Some mediators have a background in social work, which is helpful if mediating children’s issues. Other mediators are attorneys who can assist you in handling the division of marital assets and debts. It’s thus necessary to pick a lawyer who will be suitable for your specific case.
2. Don’t Invite Any Attorney
Divorce mediation requires a mediator and not a lawyer. A lawyer is crucial for divorce lawsuits, and their aim is winning regardless of the cost. However, rather than assisting both parties to agree, a lawyer may only fan the flames. It’s essential to seek your divorce lawyer’s advice during divorce mediation but not invite them to the sessions. Many mediators insist that the client not have their attorney present or that they hire an attorney to review the Memorandum of Understanding once the mediation is completed..
3. Be Prepared
Before both parties get started with the mediation process, it’s key to be prepared first. Get to know your rights and responsibilities as well as your interests during the mediation sessions. For example, do you know how child support is calculated in your state? It’s vital to inspect all your financial documents before the session. Understand what you own and what you owe. Begin to prepare a budget on what you currently spend and what you believe you will spend once you are no longer married.
4. Know What Your Spouse Want
You already know your spouse better than the mediator, don’t you? So understand what is important to them. Also, what are you willing to compromise during the divorce, and what are they willing to give up on? This makes it easy to trade something they don’t want with something you want.
5. Control Your Emotions
Mediation is not easy at all. With all your differences, emotions are likely to spike up during sessions. It’s thus crucial to know how to prepare for divorce mediation emotionally. Come up with an effective strategy of how you will calm yourself when emotions are high. This might involve keeping quiet, breathing deeply if you feel triggered. Also, focus on the bigger picture and the ultimate goal.
6. Keep an Open Mind
You don’t have to be fixated on what won’t work during the mediation session. Instead, be open-minded and think of the best solution to an issue. Allow yourself to explore different solutions from those you have already conceived. They may turn out to be the best course for you. Listen.
7. Listen Carefully Before Speaking
While it might sound obvious, it’s easier said than done. All through the mediation, emotions will run high. The right mediator ensures that both parties have equal time to speak. Interjections are viewed as attacks, and you don’t want to put your partner on the defensive side. Also, focus on answering the asked questions without deviating from giving unnecessary information.
8. Do Not Attack the Other Party
Remember, you opted for a peaceful and easier way to divorce; mediation. It is unnecessary to fight your spouse during the mediation. Instead, it’s time to bring your heads together to determine what’s best for each one of you and for your children. If the conversations get out of hand, the divorce might proceed to litigation; something you don’t want.
9. Share All the Relevant Information
Providing any information you think is necessary can help better explain your position to the mediator and the other party. Both parties should disclose information about their debts and assets. Have a divorce mediation checklist to keep yourself organized. Keep in mind withholding information amounts to fraud which the other spouse can use to cancel the divorce judgment. Also, don’t forget to discuss divorce mediation costs.
10. Understand the Purpose of Divorce Mediation
For valid reasons, spouses may confuse mediation sessions with couples’ counseling which is not the case. Divorce mediation is a conversation about the future, and the intent is to amicably come up with a settlement and the best course of action. It’s key to understand your romantic relationship is over, and you are not resolving the marriage.
11. Understand the Mediation Lawyer Role
The divorce mediation attorney will be a neutral third party during this phase. The mediator will help you agree to the negotiations. They are at liberty to express their point of view, and they keep the conversation on course.
The role of the mediator is not to help you sort your past problems with your spouse.
12. The Goal Is Not to Win
During settlement negotiations, you must be prepared to compromise. Remember, you can’t get even, win, or compensation for the suffering and sadness you’ve undergone during the marriage. To reach a consensus, both parties must compromise some of their demands.
Hire a Family Law Mediator Today
While mediation doesn’t work in every divorce, both parties should know their duties and responsibilities. Also, choosing the best divorce mediation attorney is key to a successful negotiated settlement. Use the above tips to increase the chances of divorce mediation working for your case.
Are you looking for family law mediators in Cleveland? At Petronzio Schneier Co., we are here to help. Our trained family law mediators ensure that your divorce negotiations reach an agreement and file uncontested divorce or dissolution. Contact us today for a free consultation.