Divorce mediation can save you and your ex time, money, and grief...but only if approached correctly. Go about it wrong, and you may sacrifice visitation time, alimony payments, and more. Follow these simple guidelines to ensure a mutually beneficial outcome:
RIGHT: Thorough Preparation
While you can seek counsel from an attorney, you cannot rely on a legal representative to hold your hand during the actual mediation process. Work with your attorney to determine your priorities, gather documentation, and strategize. If you fully understand your situation, you'll be less inclined to play the role of doormat during future negotiations.
RIGHT: Keeping an Open Mind
Every spouse has preconceived notions about how mediation should proceed. Stubborn adherence to these plans can cause problems; sometimes it's best to keep an open mind. Maintain a balance between advocating for your priorities and considering creative solutions.
RIGHT: Get Everything in Writing
In mediation, there is no such thing as a handshake agreement. If you want your spouse to abide by a specific plan, get it in writing. Clear and concise language will prevent a myriad of problems down the road.
WRONG: Expecting to Always Be the Victor
Mediation is all about give and take. Why, then, when we imagine this process, do we only think of what we'll achieve? Like it or not, you'll be forced to make a few major concessions. Make the right sacrifices, and you can still emerge from this difficult process feeling satisfied with the results.
WRONG: Name-Calling or Attacking
There's no room for aggressive behavior in mediation. While this is a deeply emotional process, you need to control feelings of anger or resentment for the time being. Going on the attack could have unintended consequences; you may prompt your spouse to double down in refusing your requests. Prior to mediation, practice de-escalation techniques, such as deep breathing or repeating calming mantras.
WRONG: Going it Alone
While you must advocate for yourself during the actual process of mediation, you are allowed — and encouraged — to prepare with an attorney. Don't assume you're on your own; if you have questions about the process or how to prepare, consult a legal representative. You don't need to go it alone as you proceed with mediation. While a neutral third party will direct the mediation session, you can seek outside counsel from a legal resource such as DiPietro Law Group, PLLC.
Contact our Fairfax divorce mediation attorneys at (888) 530-4374 to learn more, or fill out an online case evaluation form for a quick reply.