More and more couples are choosing to resolve their domestic issues and finalize their divorce through mediation. Divorce mediation can provide separating spouses with a more peaceful option to end their marriage, but it can still take a lot of work – and put you under a significant amount of stress.
Here are a few steps you can take before each mediation session to help them be truly productive and reduce your stress.
Make sure you have all the documents you need
Of course, you must come to each mediation session prepared with the information you will need to negotiate. For example, you will likely need:
- Paystubs or tax returns;
- Documents of ownership for all real property or large assets; and
- Financial documents for bank accounts, savings accounts and retirement.
Documents like these are essential to reach fair and realistic agreements during the divorce proceedings.
Evaluate your emotions
Getting a divorce is an incredibly emotional experience for your entire family. And while these emotions can be extremely informative in the decision-making process, it is beneficial for you to make sure you have your emotions under control.
Before each mediation session, take time to escape other stressors in your life, analyze how you are feeling and put yourself in the right mindset to make rational decisions.
Determine what you want to discuss
Mediation gives you and your spouse more control over your divorce. You choose what to negotiate and how to move forward.
So, it can be helpful to:
- Write down any questions or concerns you wish to bring up in the session;
- Plan with your attorney in advance how to address these questions or concerns.
Be prepared to listen
However, as important as it is for you to consider what you wish to discuss, you should also ensure you are ready to listen.
Mediation is more effective when spouses genuinely listen to each other’s concerns and address those concerns in their negotiations. It can be understandably difficult to listen to your spouse’s concerns without becoming defensive, especially when it comes to negotiating child custody or a property settlement, but not listening is counterproductive to mediation.
Taking time to prepare yourself for mediation can make all the difference in how you approach your divorce, as well as your future after divorce. Having legal counsel to help you prepare for mediation can make the difference between a successful cost-effective settlement, and prolonged litigation.