The term “mediation” refers to the process whereby two parties meet with a mutually selected impartial and neutral third party who assists them in the negotiation of their issues with the goal of reaching global resolution and presenting an agreement to the Court.
When it comes to divorce, mediation is a way of sorting out any differences between you and your spouse, with the help of a neutral third person—the mediator—who won’t take sides. The mediator will help you and your spouse reach an agreement about issues concerning money, property, children, and any/all other family assets.
Mediating your divorce or separation is important because it gives you an opportunity to try and settle your case without going to court. However, to be successful, you should be prepared both mentally and strategically.
Here are some tips to help you:
You should first understand what the mediation process is all about and how it works. Take time to discuss all the ins-and-outs of mediation with the mediator—and with your lawyer, sometimes called review counsel or legal coach, should you choose to have one—so that you know what to expect.This could be your last chance to resolve your differences outside oflitigation to save yourself the time, money, and stress of a court battle, and to get the outcome that works best for you.
Make sure you’re as prepared as you can possibly be.Take time to think about the issues you want to resolve with your spouse and list them all in order of importance. Get all of your documents concerningmoney or property ready. Provide all of your financial information like your income, living costs, bank statements, savings accounts, debt information, property information, assets, etc., to the mediator and your spouse so that the entirety of the marital estate is accounted for.
It’s important to stay calm and focused throughout the mediation process.Be conscious of your emotions, anxiety, and stress levels, and try to keep these in check so as to facilitate a productive dialogue. Make sure to arrive early, and don’t schedule things too closely on either side of the mediation sessions. This will help you stay relaxed and avoid having to rush to or from meetings, which could cause you unnecessary anxiety.
An important part of the mediation process is listening to your spouse. Listening to what they are telling you is key, as it willallow you to better understand and more fluidly negotiate with them. Try to remember that it’s not just about you right now, it’s about both of you. Now’s the time to find common ground and you can’t do that if you’re strictly playing offense.
While this is easier said than done, it’s important to stay relaxed throughout mediation. The fact that mediation is a process can be used by you as an asset. For one, you’re never obligated to make rush decisions in mediation.You always have time between mediation sessions to consider your options and consult your review counsel/legal coach for advice. The mediator can also help you find a way forward if you are unable to reach a decision on your own based on determining best alternatives to a negotiated agreement (BATNA).
It’s important that you maintain a positive outlook and be determined to resolve matters with your spouse without battling it out in court or quitting the process too early. Staying determined means knowing that there are no easy answers and that in order to reach a solution you will need to work hard to find common ground. Having a positive “can do” attitude is helpful here and one way to keep a positive attitude is to consider that a long, stressful, and costly court battle may be much worse than a straightforward mediation process. Your determination to fend this off may be something worth the hard work.
Be determined that you can resolve matters without going to court. While it may not be easy to reach a solution, thinking that you can and remaining positive will take you a long way towards achieving a successful outcome. Having a positive attitude will help you through the more challenging times there can be in mediation. It takes determination and hard work to find solutions to difficult problems. Remember, however, that by taking advantage of mediation, you’ll be saving a large sum of money in the long term.
You should keep in mind that the mediator can’t give you legal advice, so you should consider hiring a review counsel/legal coachto represent you and advise you on your rights and interests. The mediator’s job is to listen to both your points of view without taking sides, help to create a calm atmosphere where you and your spouse can reach a positive outcome, and suggest practical steps to help you agree on items in dispute.
Whether you or your partner is initiating a divorce, here at Hirsch Legal, LLC,we will guide you step-by-step through this process, including providing you with rules and procedures for the mediation, checklists and drafts FAs for you to work on to keep costs down. Our mediations can occur in person or remotely via Zoom to better accommodate your schedules.