Mediation should be a smooth process that results in a mutually acceptable divorce agreement. However, mediation can be derailed if one or both spouses are not prepared for the process, do not properly disclose all relevant information or refuse to accept the mediator's guidance.
In order to make your mediation as successful as possible, you should:
- Choose an appropriate mediator. You want someone with significant mediation experience who thoroughly understands the complex issues of divorce.
- Prepare for your mediation. Make sure you have all required documents, statements and other information and supply them in advance of your first session. A lawyer can help you with this and coach you on the specifics of your mediation and represent you during mediation sessions.
- Check your emotions at the door. While this isn't easy, even in the most amicable of divorces, it is necessary. Focus on the issues and don't use mediation sessions as opportunities to dredge up old arguments or sling accusations.
- Accept that you will have to negotiate. You will not walk out of mediation having gotten everything you want, any more than you could expect to walk out of court wholly triumphant. In order to get what is most important to you, you should expect to give in on other things. Knowing in advance what issues you are and are not willing to concede is important.
- Adhere to all the rules of mediation. Treat your sessions as if you were going to court. Show up on time, dress appropriately and do any homework the mediator requests. And, above all else, be respectful and keep an open mind.
Divorce mediation can save you time, money and stress if you follow the mediator's guidance - and the rules of common sense. If you are still deciding on whether your divorce would be handled best by litigation or mediation, contact a skilled family law attorney from Hess & Jendro Law Office, P.A. for guidance.