If you’ve scheduled your first mediation session, you may be unsure of what to expect. You have probably heard that mediation is referred to as “assisted negotiation”. You’re hopeful that this process will be a successful option for you and your spouse. The good news is that you’ve made a financially sensible and family-friendly choice. In order to make sure that you are doing everything possible to assist the process and contribute to its success, here are a few things you should know before going into mediation.
Choose The Right Mediator
Mediators are not all created equal. Some mediators are highly trained at handling intense emotional situations. Others are better at assisting with complex financial arrangements. Not all mediators are trained to handle domestic violence cases. If you have any special issues or requests, make sure you bring them up as you search for the right mediator. Let them know the most pressing issues in your case to find the perfect fit for you and your spouse.
Talk to your lawyer prior to your first mediation session. Make sure you understand all of your rights and responsibilities associated with the process. Spend some time thinking through the approach you want to take in mediation. Make a list of your priorities and goals regarding a settlement. What do you absolutely need to achieve in order to settle? Consider options and alternatives in advance.
Know What Your Spouse Needs
By understanding your spouse’s goals regarding a settlement in addition to your own, you will be a better negotiator. Think about what is most important to your spouse. What might your spouse be willing to give up? Thinking through your spouse’s needs will allow you to arrive at the ultimate goal of a win/win situation. Be prepared to negotiate instead of arguing.
Do Your Homework
Prior to mediation, it is important to prepare all of the necessary paperwork. Arrive with organized financial documents. Prepare a list of all your assets, bank statements, balances, and debts. Speak with a financial professional if you need assistance. Mediation briefs and materials should also be completed beforehand. Whatever your mediator asks of you, make sure you do it in a timely matter. If there is anything you do not fully understand, don’t be afraid to ask your mediator for clarification.
Expect The Unexpected
Once the mediation process starts, understand that anything can happen. Be willing to accept new developments or scenarios as they arise. Even though you are prepared and have clear expectations for what you want to achieve, mediation is a team effort and you will likely have to compromise to reach a settlement. Keep your emotions in check throughout the process. If you become too emotional or are feeling angry, ask to take a break.
Choosing mediation is a great first step in making your divorce go as smoothly as possible. Mediation does not work in every divorce but, it is statistically highly successful. If you are willing to help contribute to its success, mediation will be a positive experience for you. If you choose the right mediator, do your homework, and establish your priorities, you will be ready for a successful mediation session.
If you are looking for a mediator contact us at The Ault Firm today!