If you were going to have a traditional divorce in court, you would have to come prepared. It is no different with mediation.
However, preparing for mediation should be less stressful since a judge will not be involved in the negotiations between you and your spouse. Here are five tips to help you get organized.
1. Discuss mediation with your spouse
You may like the concept of mediation, but before moving ahead you will have to discuss the idea with your spouse. Negotiation is a cooperative way to arrive at an agreement that will be satisfactory to you both. If your spouse agrees, you can go on to the next step.
2. Gather documents
Put together the same information you would present in a traditional divorce. You will need to provide the details about your bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement funds, insurance policies, stocks and credit cards. You will also need to provide information about other assets, such as vehicles, jewelry, furnishings and real property. Be prepared to include proof of your current salaries and business income.
3. Know your range of terms
Think carefully about the terms you would ask for during mediation. What you want and what you need are often two different things. While you cannot expect to get everything you ask for, your mediator will help you and your spouse agree to divvy up assets and debts in a way that is fair.
4. Be open to negotiation
Remember that being open-minded and prepared to negotiate is what a good mediation session is all about.
5. Talk to your children
If your children are old enough to understand, keep them informed about what you and the other parent are doing and how divorce will change the family in some ways but not in others. Make sure they know that you love them and want the best for them. Studies indicate that mediation is not as stressful for children as litigation.