How to Make Your Divorce Mediation as Successful as Possible
Going through a divorce is hard enough as it is, but so often, couples unintentionally make it harder than necessary. Here are some of the most effective strategies to help you make your divorce mediation as smooth as possible.
1. Start by choosing the right divorce mediator.
Choosing the right divorce mediator may not mean calling up the first one you find and committing right then and there. Before you hire a mediator, it is in your best interest to ask them a few questions about their experience and process. Questions to ask may include:
- Why did you choose to become a divorce mediator?
- How much experience do you have in divorce mediation?
- What are your fees?
- How does the divorce mediation process work?
In addition to asking these questions, you may want to take advantage of a free consultation. During this initial meeting, you and your potential divorce mediator can discuss your specific concerns. Once you’ve asked your questions and expressed your concerns, you’ll be able to tell whether they’ll be a good fit for you.
2. Talk to your spouse first and be clear about your decision.
Once you’ve decided you want to get a divorce from your spouse—and that you won’t be changing your mind—it’s extremely important to be upfront and clear about your decision. Since divorce mediation doesn’t take place in a courtroom and it is more informal, it can be confused with couples counseling or therapy. You may need to explicitly tell your spouse that the end goal of this process is to reach an agreeable divorce settlement—not to find a way to avoid a divorce.
3. Keep an open mind throughout the divorce mediation process.
Divorce mediation works best when both parties are willing to compromise throughout the process. You can’t expect your spouse to agree to your every wish and demand if you aren’t willing to give them anything in return.
4. Don’t waste time arguing about who is right or wrong.
The main goal of a divorce mediation is to reach a settlement—not to win an argument. Once you’ve entered into divorce mediation, it’s time to find a way to move past your issues, not rehash them. Instead of placing blame and deciding who is right or wrong, you and your spouse should focus on reaching an agreement.
5. Take a break at any point in the process if you need to.
Divorce mediation can be stressful, tiring, depressing, maddening—you name it. If, at any point in the process, you find yourself in over your head, it’s perfectly fine to take a break. If you’re pushing yourself past your emotional limits, you’re not going to be able to think or act clearly. Take a day or so to gather your thoughts and de-stress and pick up where you left off once you’re in a better state of mind.
6. Leave the major/key issues for later in the divorce mediation.
Don’t feel like you have to lay everything out on the table in the first meeting. Before diving into the key issues of your divorce, it can be helpful to get a feel for the process. It can help to start with a smaller, less-important issue to test out how you and your spouse can work together.
7. Be prepared to put your children first throughout the divorce mediation.
If you have children, it is especially important to keep their needs in mind during a divorce. You and your spouse should agree ahead of time that their needs are of the utmost importance before you even begin making decisions. Keep in mind that this might mean making decisions that you don’t necessarily agree with for the sake of your children.
Learn more about the divorce mediation process below.
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