10 Tips For Divorce Mediation [Checklist Included]
Feeling on edge about your first divorce mediation session? Don’t worry, even in the best-case scenario, a divorce can be quite arduous, for both you and those around you. But since you’ve decided to go for divorce mediation instead of a court trial, you’re already headed in the right direction. Not only will you save a bunch of money, but you’ll have a divorce mediator to guide you and your spouse through the process of equal distribution of assets.
Through this article, we’ll help you with some divorce mediation tips that you can keep in mind while preparing for your first divorce mediation session. However, make sure that you collect all your personal information documents and keep them in one file for quick and easy access. You can check off the ones you have from our divorce mediation checklist list below.
The Divorce Mediation Checklist
Let’s go through the list of personal documents you might need to keep handy –
- Current Pay Stub
- Tax Returns
- Debt Amounts (current mortgage statements, credit card statement for at least 6 months prior to filing the petition for divorce)
- Current Bank Records
- Pension and Retirement Plan Balances
- Value of Assets (home appraisals & value of vehicles)
- Copy of any statements showing the type of insurance you have & cash surrender
- Inventory list of all items of personal property including furniture, antiques, jewelry and similar items along with an estimate of their current value
- The approximate value of vehicles based on the condition of vehicles (recreational vehicles, motorcycles, boats & ATVs)
- Certified copy of marriage certificate
- A copy of the prenuptial agreement (if any)
Divorce Mediation Tips
In addition to this, we’d also like to share some tips to keep in mind while preparing for your first mediation session –
1. Know your rights & obligations
Regardless of whether you have hired a Divorce Attorney or not, it’s always advantageous to be well aware of your current scenario from a legal standpoint. Since each state is unique, it has its own provisions of the law for every matter of concern, including Dissolution of Marriage. Read as many articles as you can, refer to online articles and blogs relevant to your case and be prepared with any questions that might arise while you conduct your research.
2. Prepare a list of issues you want to discuss
Every divorce process involves equitable distribution of assets and debts amongst the two parties. So, to streamline all of the concerns that you want to discuss with your mediator, we recommend that you create a checklist consisting of all the issues that you to go through, whether it is your shared phone plans or child support or anything else. This will help you keep track of what’s already been discussed and what’s pending.
3. Get your emotions under control
To be able to look at your divorce rationally with an open mind, you need to start by gathering your emotions and let them take the back seat for a while. For you to start your life again after the divorce, it is of utmost importance to not just foresee your own future but the future of your kids through a practical lens. We understand that it will be taxing and may seem like a challenge, but turn to your loved ones to help you gain your composure and see the mediation process through to the end.
4. Take care of yourself
With so much going on around you, it’s very likely that your health and well-being will be put on the back burner. Don’t do that! Take care of yourself, physically, mentally, as well as emotionally. As consenting as the divorce might be, you might feel more overwhelmed with your surroundings if you neglect your mental health at this time. Moreover, your ability to make pragmatic decisions about your future might also be hampered. So, keep yourself hydrated, well-fed, and take a break when things become too much to handle.
5. Don’t have your lawyer sit for the sessions
A degree in law might equip an advocate with the required skills to win your case, disregarding the fact that not all divorce settlements end peacefully. While a lawyer might get your divorce finalized on paper, the solution to the distribution of assets might not be in your favor or even fair to both. Having your lawyer sit for the sessions may just add more fuel to the fire. Having said that, taking legal advice from your lawyer before or after mediation, if required, didn’t harm anybody.
6. Avoid involving friends & family in the sessions
Granted that the love and support you are getting from friends & family in such a tumultuous time is unparalleled, but keep in mind that their ability to guide you and make decisions for you is clouded by their love for you. As much as you would want your loved ones to be there with through and through, we recommend that you let them stay home for your mediation sessions. Don’t worry! You can always go back and share the progress with them. However, pay heed to their words only if you think that it is unprejudiced.
7. Steer clear of making financial commitments before the agreement is finalized
When you are married, planning life events ahead of time is the best way to secure a future. But, now that you’re splitting up, life after separation may feel like starting anew which means shifting focus from married life plans to single-life plans. Therefore, we recommend that you steer clear from making any financial commitments while you are going through the mediation process. While you were married, both of you shared almost everything, so it’s only fair that after the dissolution of marriage, everything will be divided equally.
8. Chalk out a prospective monthly budget for the future
Now that you are starting a new phase in your life, it’s time to plan your future, especially if you have kids. Start with chalking out a rough estimate of your monthly expenditure for everything. From grocery budget to school fees and other related expenses, draft an approximate monthly budget for yourself and your kids. This will not just work well in your favor to claim a higher alimony amount from your ex-spouse but also help you portray a responsible attitude when it comes to Child Support.
9. Communicate transparently
So, you made the optimal decision of going for mediation, it is extremely crucial, now, that you see the entire process through, from start to finish, the core of which lies in being as transparent with your mediator as possible. Your mediator, being an impartial third party, will be able to see your side of things a lot more clearly if you share and discuss all points of concerns openly. This will not only help the mediator suggest a fair agreement but will also help you put things into perspective. You can say that a mediation session could be as rewarding as a therapy session.
10. Be willing to compromise
A list of concerns, a clear head, and the disposition to reach the halfway house is all it takes to get through the mediation process successfully. We understand that you have given a lot of your time & energy to this relationship and it’s only natural that you would feel attached to everything. But, since your marriage saw you and your spouse as equals, the equitable distribution of assets becomes inevitable to settle the divorce settlement cordially.
We hope these tips on divorce mediation prove useful to prepare for your first divorce mediation session.
At Divorce Harmony, we make your divorce settlements hassle-free, starting with a free 20-minute consultation to filing all your legal court documents.
Get your divorce agreement finalized from the comfort of your home with our online divorce mediation sessions. Just book an appointment online & we’ll get back to you.