Divorce mediation is a great tool to use if you want to keep conflict low in your divorce. By agreeing to work together, you and your ex can bypass the most common pitfalls, such as protracted disputes over custody and property division.
Mediation can help you protect specific assets or secure the terms that matter the most while still allowing you to protect your privacy and keep your divorce quick and affordable. There are few things that you want to do before you sit down at the mediation table with your ex.
Discuss your wishes and expectations with a divorce attorney
Some people think that they don’t need their own representation when they go to mediation because the mediator will protect them. However, the role of the mediator is to remain neutral and facilitate negotiations that lead to compromise. They have no obligation to stand up for or protect the rights of either participant.
If you show up without a lawyer, especially if your spouse has a history of being manipulative, you may struggle to get an outcome that is fair for you.
Go over your finances and assets carefully
Making an inventory of your property is one of the first steps in a contested divorce because the judge needs to know what you own in order to divide how to split it up. Too many people trying to amicably divorce overlook places where there could be substantial value from their marriage, such as in household furnishings or collectibles their spouse acquired during the marriage.
You’ll want to look at all of the assets and property you’ve acquired during marriage to make sure that you ask for your fair share.
Set realistic goals, but make sure to ask for more than you want
Unless you and your ex have a history of being incredibly blunt and straightforward, starting out mediation by explaining exactly what you want could mean you won’t get all of it.
Your spouse will require you to make some concessions, just like you will expect them to compromise. Deciding what you think is a reasonable outcome and then asking for just a little bit more than that can be a great strategy that gives you room to give up a little bit while still securing what is reasonable and fair.
If mediation is successful, you and your spouse can file an uncontested divorce and theoretically move on with your lives. Planning before you start the process can set you up for success.