It’s never easy to prepare for divorce mediation. Your emotions are likely running high, and you may have nerves about both the process and the divorce itself. But, getting fully prepared before your divorce mediation will help you decrease your stress and put yourself in a position to get the best possible outcome.
If you are starting to prepare for divorce mediation, use these tips to get ready.
#1) Understand what will be discussed during mediation.
The first step to prepare for divorce mediation is getting a full understanding of what the process is and what will happen during it.
Divorce mediation is a process wherein two parties meet with a non-biased mediator. The goal of the meeting is divide assets and make a plan for your family. During mediation, you will work out:
- Distribution of financial assets
- Distribution of property
- Distribution of debts
- Child support payments
- Alimony payments
- Child custody and parenting time
Divorce mediation is designed to prevent your case from going to trial. If you and your spouse can amicably work through these decisions in mediation, then you don’t need to go to trial. If you and your spouse can’t work through these decisions, you will go to court where a judge will make the decisions for you.
Ideally, you want to be in control of these decisions, not a judge, which is why it’s so important to plan for a successful mediation.
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#2) Collect and closely review all financial documents.
Before your divorce mediation, get your financial documents in order. Make sure all financial documents are provided to the other side and that you have received all financial documents from the other side.
Equitable Mediation recommends that you have:
- Pay Stubs
- W-2’s and/or 1099’s
- Tax Returns
- Savings, Checking, Money Market and CD Accounts
- Annuities, IRAs, Deferred Compensation
- Retirement Accounts and Pensions
- Non-Retirement Investments such as Stocks, Bonds, Secured Notes, Mutual Funds
- Credit Cards and Revolving Credit
- Other Loans and Debts
- Executive Compensation – Stock Options, RSUs or Other Executive Comp
- Business Interests Valuation
- Real Estate Property Valuation
- Vehicles, Boats, Trailers Valuation
- Jewelry, Antiques, Art, Coin Collections, or Other Property with significant value
- Real Estate Loans
- Life Insurance (Whole Life Policies)
Collect and review these documents so you are aware of all assets and debts going into mediation.
#3) Plan to negotiate — and compromise.
All divorce assets and terms are negotiable, but only while you are in mediation. If your case goes before a judge, you lose your right to negotiate. The judge will make the final decision. So as you get ready to go into mediation, be prepared to both negotiate and compromise.
Prioritize the things that are most important to you. Then, be willing to compromise on other items to keep your case in mediation and avoid the need for a judge to make decisions for you.
#4) Don’t expect to rush through it.
While most people want their divorce to be over as quickly as possible, it can be a mistake to rush through the process, especially the mediation.
Mediation can take time. You might want to rush it, but instead, you should be prepared to stay at the mediation as long as it takes to come to an agreement. Plan to take time to really think about the details of the agreement. The results of a divorce mediation will continue to affect your life for years to come, and it’s always better to decide your own fate, rather than put it in the hands of a stranger (the judge).
#5) Get in the right mindset.
Divorces are emotional experiences. They can take a toll on people both mentally and physically. As you prepare for divorce mediation, take some time to focus on your mind and body. Get rest, and get in the right mindset.
You don’t want to go into mediation filled with emotions because they will lead to emotional decisions. Emotional decisions are rarely the right ones. Come into the mediation with the mindset to leave the past in the past, and instead, only worry about what will be best for the future.
#6) Bring a divorce attorney to be by your side.
You are not required to have an attorney during divorce mediation. Both sides can participate without legal counsel. But, that may not be the best decision.
An experienced divorce attorney can help you see blind spots when it comes to dividing up assets. They can help you negotiate to get what you think is fair and act as an intermediary during complicated and emotional discussions. You are better equipped to go through the process with someone fighting for you by your side.
Recommended Reading: How to Prepare for Your First Meeting with a Divorce Attorney
Prepare for Your Divorce Mediation by Talking to an Experienced Attorney
As you prepare for divorce mediation, use these tips to make sure you are prepared. Then, make sure you haven’t missed any important details by working closely with a family law professional who can help you navigate the process.
The decisions you make during your divorce mediation can impact the rest of your life. Make sure you get them right.
Talk to an experienced divorce attorney today. Request your free consultation to talk to TJ Grimaldi. Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.