Many couples are looking at mediation as a way to take much of the drama out of a divorce. If you and your soon-to-be ex are open to mediation, it can make the separation go much faster.
However, if you’ve decided to enter mediation, there are a few things you can do to prepare for these sessions:
Get in the right mindset
It’s important to understand what mediation isn’t. It’s not a chance for you to air any pent-up grievances. It is not one last chance to get jabs in on a significant other or accuse them of past transgressions.
If you aren’t prepared to work with your spouse and make compromises it can slow down your mediation. It’s important that you come with an open mind and are open to cooperation throughout. This may be difficult but it will be worth it in the long run.
Know what you want
Mediation is a cooperative process but that also means you get a say in how things go rather than leaving things up to the court system to decide. It helps to have some (reasonable) conditions that you know you want out of the separation agreement.Know what issues are most important to you and be realistic about the outcomes that can be achieved. There are some issues that may not be ideal to address in mediation. For example, if your ex has substance abuse or mental health issues and wants equal custody but you only want them to have supervised visitation, those are gaps that likely won’t be bridged in a mediation. You may be able to still resolve financial issues by leaving that issue for resolution at a later time.
Have a few areas where you are willing to compromise and a few that are non-negotiable. This way you can work with your mediator and your ex-partner. The mediation can head towards a resolution instead of going in circles trying to nail down what each party wants.
Keep the outcome in sight
Having a civil discussion about the end of a romantic relationship can be a tremendously difficult task. Don’t be afraid to request frequent breaks to regain composure or collect your thoughts. It’s imperative you remember that in order to have an effective settlement, neither party will get everything that they want.
Do your best to keep a level head throughout the process and remember that if you sign any legal documents you need to review them thoroughly, ask questions, and be completely comfortable with what you are agreeing to.
The right mediator makes all the difference
Even if you don’t think you bear any hard feelings towards your ex, you may be surprised at how long the process can take. Mediation generally takes a full day and can often last well after business hours or may require multiple sessions. Once you get in the mediation, you may realize there are many details that need to be addressed as part of the larger issues, which is why it’s so important to find the right mediator who is experienced in all the nuances of family law.
With the guidance of a skilled mediator, you can work towards a favorable outcome and a less costly separation process.