You may have heard about divorce mediation, but not many people know the details about what it is and how it can help you. Mediation is often advisable for couples going through a divorce because it can help you to agree on a settlement without needing to go through the court process and have this decided by a judge. Mediation is often a cheaper alternative to the legal courts. It has three distinct categories – legal, financial and emotional – and you will need to prepare for each of these. We will look at each of these in turn.
1. Legal preparation for mediation.
If you are undergoing the process of mediation, then you may decide that you don’t need legal representation. It depends on how easily you and your spouse are able to talk to one another and discuss the issues regarding your divorce. If you would prefer to have a lawyer present, then you are perfectly entitled to do so. This is a decision that you need to make on your own.
2. Financial preparation for mediation.
Before you undergo any kind of divorce mediation process, you will need to collect all relevant financial information together. You would need to do this if your divorce was being dealt with by a lawyer too, so don’t let this put you off the mediation process. All documents relating to any loans you and your spouse have taken out, including mortgage documents and credit card statements, will need to be compiled. If you have any investments, savings or pensions, the details relating to these will also be required. The more accurate and up to date your financial information is, the more likely you are to receive the best possible divorce settlement.
3. Emotional preparation for mediation.
This may actually be the most difficult aspect of the preparation. During the mediation, you will be asked about what it is that you need and want, and these will need to be stated clearly. The mediator will try to ensure that one of you is not taking advantage of the other, but they cannot work out what you would like as part of the settlement unless you tell them. If you have chosen to go through the process of mediation, then it is important that you are able to sit in the same room as your ex and be able to deal with all of the issues reasonably.
If this is going to be a problem, for whatever reason, then you may be better choosing telephone mediation. This means that you won’t need to be in the room with your ex, and you can talk more freely. It may also help to avoid the arguments that some couples find will happen frequently when divorcing.
The other thing you should consider before your mediation session is whether you actually still trust your ex to be fair. Mediation relies on you trusting each other and negotiating fairly.
For some couples, mediation is an excellent alternative to hiring lawyers and going through the courts, but you should bear in mind that it will not be suitable for everyone.