How Do I Prepare For Divorce Mediation?

How Do I Prepare For Divorce Mediation?
May 16, 2022

By the time you decide on divorce, you’ve likely already traversed a rocky, painful road. If children are involved, the way that you and your spouse handle the divorce process can have a lasting impact on their well being. Besides taking a more streamlined and measured approach, divorce mediation is also an opportunity to conserve limited funds and come to a smoother resolution.

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a process that’s carried out between you, your spouse, and a mediator, who guides discussion in a way that helps you to reach an agreement with your spouse and develop a detailed co-parenting plan that addresses both of your wishes. The ultimate goal is to set you both up for the healthiest relationship you can have post-divorce. 

The mediation process is done outside of a court, so as to keep stress and cost within reason. At the Law Offices Of Cara L. Santosuosso, LLC, your children’s best interests are always our top priority. As mediators we can help you both to take a less subjective, or self-centered view, focusing instead on each others’ well being, since this will directly affect how your children adjust to their new life.

How Best To Prepare for Divorce Mediation

There are plenty of forms and questionnaires that you can investigate or fill out–and we’re happy to provide a convenient checklist of our own–but the most important preparation that needs to happen is a personal and emotional endeavor. Successful mediation requires that both divorcing parties are in a calm mental space. This means taking care of yourself and giving yourself time to work through anxieties and feelings of nervousness. Remember, this is all about creating and maintaining healthy relationships that can nurture your children and foster the best environment for their development.

Your first mediation meeting will generally focus on crafting a mutually acceptable parenting plan. If you don’t have children, then division of assets will typically be the initial discussion. Regardless of whether children are involved or not, being respectful is always a best practice and taking this new approach to divorce can help to set you up for a much more rewarding future. That said, it is an absolute must that both parties be willing and open to the mediation process, commit to working together, and put their trust in the mediator for it to be successful. 

Documents to Bring and Information to Know

Prior to your first mediation meeting, you will both need to complete a checklist and compile various documents. This initial effort will help the mediator to work efficiently at developing a plan that’s tailored to your specific situations. Required documents will likely include personal identification along with financial, property, insurance, and employment information. While mediation is done outside of the court, you will need to submit an agreement to a judge to finalize. Court requirements can vary, but many will want to see a financial affidavit. Working with a divorce attorney will ensure that you comply with local rules and provide accurate information.

Remember that being unsure and having questions is a normal part of the divorce mediation process. Trust your mediator and never hesitate to respectfully raise an issue that truly concerns you, especially if it will affect your children.

General Things to Keep In Mind

As you approach the divorce mediation process, it’s vital to have and maintain a positive attitude during the creation of your co-parenting plan. You both have to want to be there, and have to keep your children as your focus. Even when you encounter breakdowns in communication, a positive spirit and an effective mediator can help you work through rough patches. The goal should always be to keep conflict low, and make the most of the time you have with the mediator. So instead of taking up sensitive or contentious issues on your own, save them for mediation sessions and come to the discussion with an open mind.

We would also recommend that you come prepared to meetings with any relevant information that your mediator has requested, along with written questions and concerns. You are both likely paying for the mediation service, so taking it seriously and making the most of the time shows respect for each other and for the process. It will also help the meetings go more smoothly if you both focus on resolving issues, not spending time arguing your positions. This is about finding out what’s best for everyone involved, not winning a debate or proving a point. Thinking through each person’s interests will allow you to take a more objective, reflective approach, and will help to avoid a confrontational or adversarial atmosphere.

Once a session is over, or before a new one begins, giving yourself some space and time for reflection can go far to helping you gain a new perspective or better understanding of the situation you are trying to work out. And taking good care of yourself means that you’ll have more to bring to each session and to share with your child, who needs your full support and involvement, now more than ever. That includes being kind to yourself, treating yourself as you hope others would treat you. Sometimes we can be our harshest critic, but that negative outlook isn’t beneficial and can actually harm the mediation process.

Choose a Professional Divorce Mediator

Many individuals can claim to be divorce mediators, but only those who have undergone training and have experience can give you the reliable outcome you’re hoping for. This is already a difficult process, so when you choose a mediator you want to be sure that they are helping, not hurting your goals. In general, working with a divorce attorney who is also trained as a divorce mediator is a winning choice, because they understand what’s at stake and can help you to see the difference between fighting things out in a courtroom or discussing the situation calmly and respectfully in mediation sessions. At the Law Offices Of Cara L. Santosuosso, LLC our sole focus during divorce mediation is to create a plan that best provides for any children involved, while also treating parents with dignity and respect. Get in touch today to get started and find an effective resolution – we’re ready to help.