1. Pick the right mediator.
All mediators are not the same. Some are better at handling highly conflicted emotional situations and others are better at handling complex financial arrangements. Some mediators will mediate cases involving domestic violence, others will refuse having that case. You must choose a mediator that can handle the situation, to make the mediation work.
2. Do not interpose a lawyer during the process.
Lawyers are used to fighting in court, and their focus is on winning, regardless the cost. Sometimes instead of helping parties reach an agreement, most lawyers only fuel the fight. While getting a lawyer’s legal advice before and after mediation is essential for making the best agreement, having the lawyer present during the mediation session may not be a good idea.
3. Be prepared before going to the mediation.
Talk to your lawyer before you go to Family Mediation Center. Make sure you know what your rights and responsibilities are, how child support in your state is calculated. You also want to make sure you have gone over all of your financial documents before the mediation session. Trying to negotiate a financial settlement when you don’t understand your own finances can fail.
4. Do your homework.
When the mediator asks you to provide financial documents by a certain date, do it! If you need to get property appraised, or get pension information, or investigate school district boundaries so you know where you need to live after your divorce in order to keep your child in the same school, do it! You can’t talk about what you don’t know. If you (and your spouse) don’t do the tasks you need to do in order to move your mediation forward, you will go nowhere.
5. Know what your spouse and you want and need before walking into the mediation session.
You know your spouse way better than the mediator ever will What is important to your spouse? What is important for you? What does your spouse or you want and need in the divorce? What is your spouse willing to give up? And what you are willing to give up? If you know the answers to those questions you will be better able to trade something your spouse wants for something you want.
6. Control your emotions.
Mediation is hard work, and not letting your spouse push your buttons when you are already teetering on the edge is tough! The best way to handle yourself while you are in a mediation session is to make a strategy for calming yourself before you even walk in the door. How to do that? One of the easiest techniques to use when you feel yourself being triggered by your spouse is to be quiet, breathe deeply, and count to 5 before reacting. You need to relax. It also helps to keep your goal in mind: focus on the big picture and try to let the small stuff go.
7. Keep an open mind.
There is more than one way to do just about everything in this world. Part of what Daniel Mandelbaum does is to help you brainstorm creative ways to resolve your issues. Maybe there are solutions you never thought about! Give yourself permission to explore all of the available options, rather than fixing your sights on doing things your way.
Is Divorce Mediation Right for You?
Mediation does not work in every divorce. But, if you use these 7 divorce mediation tips, you will improve the chances that divorce mediation will work for you.
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