Divorce Mediation Checklist
Follow this guide to have successful divorce mediation and avoid unnecessary turmoil.
Mediating a divorce settlement can be an effective and efficient way to resolve your divorce action. For a mediation to be successful, it helps to put aside emotional and personal issues in order to come to terms with your spouse. Reaching a mediated settlement can speed up an otherwise lengthy litigation process. When both parties make an effort to give full disclosure and act cordially despite differences, divorce mediation can be a helpful way to resolve your case. If a case does not get settled, a divorce litigation can turn into a boxing match with punches being thrown from both sides due to raw and unsettled feelings. In addition, it can hurt family members indirectly involved in the process.
Tips to Ensure a Smooth Divorce Mediation
In order to have successful divorce mediation and avoid unnecessary turmoil, try to follow this guide:
Maintain a Calm, Open Mind
This should always be the first step of your divorce mediation checklist. Not only should you leave your emotions at the door, you should also come prepared to listen to things you may not want to hear. Your spouse might propose something that upsets you and causes you to respond with an equally irritating proposal. Chances are that you know each other well enough to escalate the situation quickly. Try to avoid letting emotions rule at all costs. Give him or her a chance to speak, and you will also have your chance. If you hit a point where you need time away from the mediation table, let your attorney know. Do your best to make a rational business-like decision, and not one based on emotions.
Prepare to Negotiate
Mediation is meant to be a proactive process. Don’t assume the goals of your divorce mediation checklist won’t work before attempting them. Give your highest priorities over to your attorney in writing so that he or she understands what is most important to you. Those priorities may not be the same for your separated partner, so be willing to give something to get something in return. This interaction does not mean you are losing the battle; rather, it means you are choosing to do everything in your power to end the conflict amicably for all those involved. Many mediators and attorneys will tell you that a successful mediation is one where both sides walk away equally unhappy.
Organize Joint Financial Documents
Collecting bank statements, credit card debt, mortgage loans, car payments, timeshares, stock, and other joint financial documents is important. You must have a good understanding of your finances. At mediation, you and your spouse will decide how the debt and joint accounts should be split. If you believe the other party should pay more, or you should receive a higher portion of a certain account, make sure you have a solid reason or documented proof of your claim. Having the list of financial documents (if not the documents themselves) will save you time and money in mediation.
Create a List of Property
Creating a list of property can be as literal as going through the house or apartment item by item and deciding who gets what. Alternatively, this step of your divorce mediation checklist can happen on your own; you can create a list separately and bring the differences to mediation. Sometimes deliberating who gets an item can be as simple as flipping a coin, but other times it is much more complicated. Prepare to give up an item to get another that you want.
There are situations where both of you can get important, sentimental items. For example, things like photo albums can be copied so both of you can have your own set. There are some situations in a mediation where it is truly a win-win for both sides.
Consider Custody of the Children
If you have children, custody can be a huge mediation issue. Ultimately, both you and your spouse will want to have a positive and meaningful relationship with the child or children. Remember to keep the child’s wishes and best interests in mind before your own. In most situations, the child or children are best served when they have meaningful contact with both parents. While you may no longer want a relationship with your spouse, your children do. Resist the urge to punish the other side and do what is best for your children.
A divorce mediation checklist and strategy helps remind you to keep your emotions in check and establishes priorities to accomplish in preparation for the mediation process. Utilize these tips to have a divorce mediation that hopefully resolves your specific needs. Every case is different, and every individual needs different reminders to help the divorce process go smoothly and efficiently.
If you struggle with creating your own divorce mediation checklist or if you would simply like more information about what to expect in the process, contact one of the attorneys at Spooner & Associates. Mr. Spooner is a registered mediator in Georgia and is very familiar with the mediation process.