Divorce mediation can empower you and your soon-to-be-ex to leave the marriage on your own terms. It's not for everyone, but when it works, it can be a more amicable, peaceful, and even happier way to end things. In a sense, it also helps you get started on the next phase of your relationship and next chapter of your life in a way that gives you a greater sense of control.
On the other hand, an ugly divorce hurts all involved, especially the kids. In fact, new research indicates that a messy divorce can have a negative impact on kids' health for years. It's easy to see why mediation in divorce has been on the rise for the last several years. If you're considering divorce mediation, here are some actions you should take to be sure you're ready.To control the color or size of this text, please change the global colors or text size under the Design section from the left menu of the editor.
Action #1: Prepare and Prioritize
A great divorce lawyer can help eliminate a lot of this burden, but you still need to be prepared. Among the issues that may be settled during mediation are:
• Child Custody
• Parental Visitation
• Child Support
• Distribution of Property
• Responsibilities for Liabilities
• Retirement Plans
Depending on your situation, other things may be decided in mediation as well. It's important to go into mediation with a good idea of what your ideal outcomes are. You may even make a list of what your priorities are in the case. That can enable you to keep your eye on the prize during negotiations and more clearly identify areas where you can best compromise.
Action #2: Make a Commitment to Mediate
You need to fully understand what mediation will mean for your divorce prior to making a commitment to the process. Ask your divorce lawyer any questions you may have about the process, and go into the divorce mediation with a clear commitment to settling your divorce in an amicable way. Be sure your soon-to-be-ex is on the same page and willing to do the same.
Keep in mind that this doesn't mean that you will suddenly need to be best friends with your former life partner. Most people don't leave marriage as friends with their former spouses. However, it can be more important to be able to at least communicate in a friendly way if you want to keep the person in your life or if you must continue to co-parent with him or her.
Action #3: Set Clear Goals
Going into divorce mediation without clear goals is a terrible idea. Instead, take the time to set clear goals. You may do this with the assistance of your divorce attorney. It won't be easy, and you need to do some deep thinking to determine what you are not willing to give up. There needs to be balanced. It's a mistake to go into mediation with expectations that are too high.
If you decide that keeping the family home is a high goal, understand you may need to compromise on a lot of other, smaller things to be given that important asset. The financial well-being of both you and your soon-to-be-ex is at stake, so money is often a big part of the mediation process.
The most important outcome in the mediation process may revolve around your children. That is often the case with divorcing couples. In that situation, you may reach out to your former life partner. Talk about how you can both best be there for your children and work out an optimal custody agreement.
Finally, if you are considering mediation, talk to a divorce lawyer who can help safeguard your best interests. Ronald M. Bahrie is an experienced divorce attorney who can help you decide whether divorce mediation is right for your unique situation. Ultimately, divorce mediation may help enforce peace and empower you best co-parent with your ex in years to come.