If you are going through a divorce, you might be lucky enough to find a way to get through the process amicably with your soon to be ex-spouse. The thing is, even divorcing couples that seem to be on the same page can benefit from mediation sessions. Sometimes issues can become more heated than one realizes, and having a mediator in place can help pave the way to agreed resolutions and hopefully keep your divorce process out of the courts. Divorce attorneys and mediators can ensure that you don’t need to go through the divorce process alone. Here are seven things that you can do to help get the most out of mediation sessions during your divorce.
1. Try to Stay Calm
Divorce can be a stressful process, especially if there are dependents, expenses, or properties to hash out. If you or your spouse aren’t particularly excited about the pending divorce or have wildly different opinions on how decisions should shake out, this can lead to tension and anger. Attorneys and mediators will have tips to prepare for mediation sessions, so you can come into these meetings with a calm state of mind ready to get down to business. If you can go into the process without anger, you’ll have a clear head, ready to make decisions.
2. Map Out Your Needs
If you can come into sessions knowing what you want out of your divorce and what resolutions would work for you, you will be much more able to articulate these wants and needs. Being focused will help you get through your divorce in a more streamlined fashion, and can also help you get on with the next chapter of your life. Making lists, having back-up documentation, and even practicing discussion points before going into a mediation session will help you set out what your needs are and why you think decisions should go a certain way. This doesn’t mean that you will get everything you want out of a divorce, but at least at the end of the day you will have stood up for yourself and your needs and won’t have regrets.
3. Check in With Your Divorce Attorney
If your divorce is taking a turn for the worst, you might be emotional or have a hard time navigating the process. Bringing your worries to your attorney ahead of time will help you keep focused, possibly practice stating your needs, and stay practical by working with facts. If you need to take some time to cool down or even see a counselor before mediation on your own, this can help you get focused and ultimately have the right mindset for upcoming mediation sessions.
4. Remember that Mediation is a Process
While you might have an idea of how your divorce settlement will turn out, this might not turn out exactly the way you expected. Medication can lead to high emotions and conflict, but is designed to work through these issues to come to a resolution at the end. Try to take setbacks and changes with stride. If there are choices or decisions you can live with even if they aren’t exactly what you wanted, it might be wise to take these offers through mediation. You will have a certain level of control with outcomes in mediation that won’t necessarily be an option in court.
5. Be Prepared for Mediation Sessions
You might not understand exactly what mediation sessions are designed to cover, so be sure your attorney maps out for you what to expect. While the idea is there is a third party to assist couples reach resolutions and keep emotions from taking over, there are real topics that will need to be covered. If you can have back-up documentation at your fingertips in case this is needed, you can negotiate with facts instead of emotions. Financial documents, timelines, and other back-up can help if there are discrepancies between you and your ex-spouse’s thoughts on disputed topics.
6. Don’t Rush the Overall Process
While divorce can feel painful, this isn’t something you should speed up just to get through it. There might be more factors at play or decisions to make than you realize. Working through the process in a thoughtful manner with attorneys and mediators can ensure you take all of the right steps in your divorce at the right speed. Mediation can take more than one session, and going into this knowing that outcomes won’t necessarily be immediate is important. Rushing into decisions or feeling bullied won’t help you get what you need. If you aren’t getting the support from your ex-spouse you need when it comes to agreeing to mediation, be sure to involve your attorney for advice on next steps.
7. Be Honest With Yourself
Mediation isn’t designed to help one individual ‘win’ or settle out of court with one party feeling triumphant. The best outcome should involve fair, just decisions that leave both parties as satisfied as possible with the outcome. In order to get to this point, you might have to be honest with yourself about what a fair outcome would actually look like, and when to let go. If you know that you are a stubborn person at heart, it is a good idea to make a list of decisions and items that are deal breakers, and others that you might be able to let go. This can involve custody decisions, breaking up property, and financial loose ends that need to divided. While you don’t want to sell yourself short, if you can’t let go of things at the end of they day, you’ll end up delaying the overall divorce process. This can cause more pain to your family and could become costly due to drawing out mediation or not accepting fair decisions up front.
The process of divorce might not be something you are looking forward to, but this can be less painful if you utilize mediation resources and take the process seriously. Talk with your attorney about the what tools might work best for you and your ex-spouse. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all process when it comes to divorce, so really try to look inside yourself and understand what your weaknesses might be when it comes to letting go, negotiation, and emotional factors. If you are going through a divorce and need guidance, contact us to help.