Divorce mediation is one of the best opportunities for couples to resolve issues in their marriage. Not only is the process inexpensive, but it offers more control and privacy to the couple, unlike contested litigation, which is stressful to the couple and kids as well. Divorce mediation takes less time and helps the couple come to a fair agreement.
Let’s look at divorce mediation tips to help you have a successful mediation and transition to the next chapter in your life smoothly.
1. Mediate in Good Faith
Mediation is a voluntary process. To achieve a fair agreement as a couple, you need to take the initiative and agree to mediate. This does not mean that you and your partner must be friends. It only means that you are seeking a neutral location where you can air your issues and try to resolve them amicably.
Before seeking mediation, try researching to learn the pros and cons of divorce mediation. It’s crucial not to arm-twist your partner to sit at the table and mediate. What you need to do is convince your spouse that divorce mediation is a better alternative to a lengthy court process and not to mention a cheaper one as well.
When talking to your spouse to convince him or her that divorce mediation is the best course of action, there are a few things to consider. For example, who will pay for the divorce mediation process? Is it the husband, the wife, or will you split the fees? When should you start?
Taking into consideration the factors above will improve your success rate.
2. Be Prepared
Now that you have both agreed to participate in divorce mediation, you need to be ready. Being prepared by thinking about what you want, what you can live with, and about the mediation process is critical.
By doing so, not only are you empowered as a decision-maker during mediation, but you will get to reach a fair agreement. How do you go about organizing yourself? The first step is to prepare a master list.
The master list should contain tax documents, pay stubs, and personal property. It should also include real estate, bank accounts, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts. Don’t forget about stocks, annuities, pension disbursements, and child support payments, if any.
Expenses should be on the list too. Such expenses include car loans, student loans, credit card payments, and health insurance costs. Being prepared also means thinking about the welfare of your kids.
That means thinking about child visitation and child custody. This calls for bringing your kids’ schedule of extra-curricular and school calendar.
3. Seek the Help of a CDFA
It’s crucial to make sure that your mediator is arrayed to encourage and manage the financial aspect of your case to ensure that a fair and peaceful settlement is reached. Moreover, look for a professional who, alongside from being well qualified in the counseling and social mediation aspects of your case is also a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)
Possessors of the CDFA credentials have examined the financial facets of divorce significantly and can give a unique level of knowledge in areas like:
- Questions regarding child support and spousal support
- Issues associated with investment and retirement funds
- How divorce will affect your tax situation
- How assets can and should be divided fairly
4. Be Ready and Willing to Compromise
Most couples going through a divorce usually have the “my way or the highway” mentality. If you go into mediation with such a mindset, nothing will go smoothly. You will end up fighting in front of your mediator. Due to your fighting, you will not reach any fair agreement.
As such, mediation will fail. Once it fails, the only other option you have is divorce court. To avoid the expensive litigation process, we recommend that you be ready and willing to compromise.
Compromising is not easy, but it offers a middle ground where both parties get a fair share.
5. Never Make a Financial Commitment Outside Mediation
When it comes to the fair division of marital assets and liabilities, divorce mediation is one of the best solutions. The problem is a lot of couples engage actively in communicating outside mediation sessions. While this is good, it can do more harm.
How? Unless you and your partner are financial experts, actively discussing financial matters outside the mediation process is dangerous. Divorce is a complex process, and you might think that you can speed it up by making decisions outside the mediation process.
Well, it’s not right. Not only will it cost you thousands of dollars in additional fees, but it may result in different tax consequences. To avoid all these, never make a financial commitment outside the mediation process.
Instead, work with a mediator skilled in finances of divorce. This will help you streamline your negotiations and avoid different tax consequences.
6. Take Care of Yourself
While divorce mediation enables you to prevent the traumatic events of divorce, it’s still essential to take care of yourself. That means taking into consideration your physical, mental, and emotional health if you are going to deal with your divorce.
When you are under extreme stress, you may not think clearly, which is not suitable for you or children if you have them. Not only that, while under intense pressure, it may give you difficulty sleeping, which can cause anxiety and overthinking. When this happens, you will be unable to make accurate decisions. For example, it will be difficult for you to make reasonable decisions on life-altering topics such as child support, spousal support, and custody of children.
It will also be challenging to make decisions on the division of marital property and debts. If you do make decisions, you will end up making poor decisions leading to unfair settlements.
7. Never Involve Family and Friends
Family and friends can be there for you during difficult times, such as your divorce. But be sure not to include them in your divorce process. Why? There is a lot of misinformation which originates from family and friends. Also, there is the issue of bias.
Your family and friends care about you. As such, they will do everything in their power to ensure you feel better. That includes taking your side and telling you what you want to hear. Although they have your best interest in mind, they are not beneficial in your divorce mediation.
It’s vital to remember that you should never go to your divorce mediation proceedings with your mind entrenched in one position. If you do so, you may end up handing your financial future to a total stranger or unqualified family member or friend.
Allow mediation to take its course. This will enable you to make logical decisions on all critical issues.
8. Hire an Experienced Mediator
When choosing the right mediator, it’s essential to hire a competent mediator or divorce mediation team if you want to attain a fair agreement. A qualified mediator has the proper certifications, training, and years of experience. They also have made efforts to keep up with the current changes by seeking continuing education opportunities.
To find a competent divorce mediator, learn the qualifications a good mediator should have. Next, identify the top mediators in your state and create a shortlist of candidates to consider. Schedule a meeting with potential candidates to learn more about the mediator.
Source: Mediation and Counseling Blog