If you’re divorcing and have decided to take control of your future, you may be wondering how to get ready for divorce mediation. Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver offers a few key pointers to help you prepare for the process. Just showing up is one thing, but coming to the table with the right information and a positive mindset will significantly improve the results of your mediation sessions.
Know Your Rights & Obligations
When it comes to how to get ready for divorce mediation, the best place to start is to know your rights and obligations. Read up on what laws apply to your divorce (especially if children are involved), as well as what’s required of you, for a better understanding of how it might affect your specific situation. Get familiar with the terminology, the latest news and the steps required by the courts here in Colorado.
You can also request a consultation with Mediate Don’t Litigate, and I’ll familiarize you with the general court process versus mediation. I’d also be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
Keep Those Emotions in Check
Even though you may have very strong feelings about the other party, allowing those emotions to erupt in or during a mediation session will only set things back. To be productive during mediation, it is best to have your feelings under control and your mind focused on the matters at hand. Yes, it’s certainly easier said than done sometimes, but mentally preparing in advance will ensure a more successful mediation.
Bottom line, the desired outcome of any mediation is that both parties agree on terms without having the courts decide their futures. The atmosphere should be solutions-oriented, not emotionally volatile.
Bring Organized Documents
This is a big one when it comes to how to get ready for divorce mediation. Coming to the table with as much financial evidence as possible is crucial. Divorce mediation is about concrete solutions, creating an agreement that you will present for court approval. A full disclosure of your finances, down to the penny, is required to ensure nothing is overlooked.
- Assets include: individual and joint bank accounts and balances, real estate, ownership or equity in businesses, vehicles, valuables, timeshares, retirement funds and balances, stocks, brokerage accounts, annuities, even pending lawsuits that are likely to produce an award.
- Debts and balances include: bank loans, private or personal loans (to and from friends or family), car and student loans, mortgage payments, credit cards, tax debt and other collections.
Typically, along with official documentation, a spreadsheet is an easy way to keep numbers organized. This may be a joint effort or solely from your side. Your mediator may advise on a preferred method.
Put Together Your Budget
Once finances are disclosed, mediation will then cover how both sides will proceed in living separately. It will be helpful for you to have a budget in mind. Coming to the table with what you can genuinely afford or what support you will need are a valuable piece of divorce mediation. It’s best to be honest and fair in your estimation as your financial picture will be available for comparison. Excessive asks or refusals will likely create unnecessary arguments. There are numerous family budget forms available online to help you break down expenses. Make sure you include medical visits, medications, co-pays, deductibles, kids’ activities, vehicle and other household expenses, and whatever else you can include.
Write Down Concerns
Beyond discussing your basic wants and needs regarding assets, debts, children and other matters, it’s also important to address your concerns, those “what ifs” that might be keeping you up at night. Write it all down to be reviewed during divorce mediation. This may include where each parent can travel or move with a child and what notification is needed, financial support as a stay at home spouse endeavors to re-enter the workplace. Every concern is valid and should be covered in your sessions.
One-on-One with Mediator
First and foremost, speaking with your mediator is a confidential process, so you can rest assured that the information exchanged will be kept private by your mediator. They will also understand that one or both parties may not be comfortable discussing every issue in the presence of the other. Mediation can still be successful if you and your spouse need to be in separate rooms. You can also have your attorney present if that makes you feel more comfortable. Mediation is not a one-size-fits-all process.
Choose Your Attorney Wisely
Seek out an attorney who is willing to help you find reasonable solutions instead of fighting exhaustively over every issue. The point of mediation is to avoid litigation and a court battle. Bringing that type of attorney to your sessions is counterproductive. Ultimately, mediation provides a huge emotional and financial benefit, so make sure your attorney is on the same page.
Hopefully, you now know how to get ready for divorce mediation after reading these tips from Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver. I’m here to help make the most of your situation with thoughtful, professional and caring mediation services. Get in touch today to schedule a consultation.