A mediated divorce is one in which spouses discuss the content of the separation agreement in conference sessions with a professional mediator in order to make mutual agreements about the outcome of the divorce. There is no doubt that this is the best case scenario when it comes to a peaceful separation, but in order to ensure a smooth mediation session, there are some rules to keep in mind. Here are a few:
Don’t Forget that “Winning” is Expensive
Going to court is stressful, draining and takes its toll emotionally and financially on all parties involved. The cost of court often outweighs value of the issue at hand. When deciding on divorce and exploring different ways to go about it, consider that there are two parties involved and sitting down and working out a solution together with the help of a skilled mediator can not only save incredible amounts of money in court fees, but save the hassle and headache of trial and provide a way for spouses to reach common ground in separation
Dismiss Preconceived Notions
Clearing away any preconceived notions may seem like an impossible thing to do in the midst of a divorce, but by letting go of what you think a divorce should look like, you can move past the concept of mutual destruction and move towards a mutually beneficial agreement. There is no doubt that emotions run high in divorce and that feelings of jealousy, anger, hurt and depression may begin to interfere with sound decision making. However, as hard as it may seem to dismiss these feelings, the key to success in divorce mediation is to clear away the notions of a scripted divorce and consider what is actually best for you and your family.
Prepare Ahead of Time
As with most things, a successful mediation requires preparation. Your mediator may ask you for documentation or paperwork before the sessions, and it is a good idea to provide these things in an organized and timely manner. Lack of organization slows any process down, including mediation. Review everything you send to your mediator before the sessions. Make sure you are familiar and comfortable with your finances so that you are capable of having an intelligent conversation about your situation and have a better understanding of what you are looking to get out of the divorce.
Get Used to Compromise
Successful mediation requires compromise, which may be a difficult thing for parties in a divorce to grasp. The thing to understand is that by compromising with your spouse, and putting aside the pain and hurt from personal offenses, allows both parties to gain more out of the situation. An open mind can be very beneficial, as you may have not considered some very viable potential solutions. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for time to consider your options before agreeing to or making a big decision. In any mediation there are always three scenarios: your way, their way, or a compromise. Keeping mind that those are the three options for each decision, it may be easier to understand how a realistic position may be better than either the best case or worst case scenarios. Save your ammo for the issues which are most important to you, and stick to your guns on those decisions. However, keep a mental count on how many times you receive your most ideal outcome so that you can be ready to compromise on issues you can settle with.
Be Mindful of Your Behavior
In the midst of a divorce it is easy to lose your cool, but maintaining mindful behavior can help you escape damaging emotional patterns and gain the respect that can help both parties reach successful negotiation. Mindful behavior refers to the acknowledgement of old behaviors and then giving one’s self permission to dismiss it to move past emotions and begin a healthier way of acting and living. Be mindful of your actions as well as your words, since negative language and hurtful insults can be counteractive to the mutual negotiation that you are looking for. One technique to help maintain composure is to limit the times you say “you”, focusing on the other party, and concentrate on “I” as in what you would like to contribute to the conversation. Also, refrain from extreme reactions to the other parties suggestions and ask for clarity in situations that you don’t understand or agree to. Keeping a mindful open mind can work wonders in successfully mediating a separation agreement.
Overall, remember that mediation is a negotiation process that does require compromise from both sides to be successful. Hopefully, by paying attention to behavior, understanding the need to compromise, preparing ahead of time, and keeping your families best interest in mind, you can design a fair separation and save significant money, heartache and time in the process. If you would like a free consultation with our divorce attorneys to see which method of separation may be best for your specific situation, don’t hesitate to call us at (800) 481-2526, or fill out the contact form on our website to get started.