What is the Divorce Mediation Process Like?
The moment you and your spouse decide to file for divorce, you may find yourself experiencing a variety of conflicting emotions, such as fear, anxiety, anger and possibly even guilt. These are all very normal feelings to have when going through a divorce, as it is the end of a major chapter of your life.
Choosing divorce mediation over traditional courtroom litigation may help to lessen the grief and stress you may be feeling over the end of your marriage, as it enables you and your spouse to end your marriage as simply and painlessly as possible, in a low-key, drama-free environment. Here’s a breakdown of how the divorce mediation process works, along with some tips to make sure you receive the best possible outcome from your divorce.
The Divorce Mediation Process
You and your soon-to-be former spouse will first meet with a mediator, either over the phone or in person, and provide background information about your marriage, family, and issues surrounding your decision to dissolve your marriage. At your first appointment, the mediator will outline what to expect from the process, then turn the floor over to each of you to make a short statement about your situation. There may be additional meetings, but it is important to try to minimize the amount of meetings, as a long process can remove many of the emotional benefits of divorce mediation from being realized. A quick, simplified mediation process is advantageous to all parties, even if they may not realize it at the time!
Before showing up to mediation, make a list of all assets, possessions and debts. This is an important step in being prepared for your mediation session, and your new life. Try also to form a budget, keeping payments of any debts and liquidation of any assets in mind. If a car is paid off, that is an asset. If car payments need to be made every month, that is surely a debt. It makes sense that the person using the car will be making the payments, but not all debts are so straightforward. If your ex-spouse has a hospitalization right before the divorce, that is still the responsibility for both parties – unless otherwise agreed. So think carefully about debts that exist from the marriage, and be especially wary of any that you might have assumed were belonging to your spouse! If you are confused about what is an asset and what is debt, click here to learn more about property settlement.
Set goals for the mediation session
Having set goals before the mediation session, and sharing those during the session, will help keep everyone focused on positive outcomes. It will also give you a place to “start over” or return to if the conversation is going off track. For your own emotional protection, it relieves anxiety about what might happen during mediation sessions – and helps you get the most mediation bang for your buck!
Once he or she has heard from both of you, the mediator will work with you to develop a plan for working through unresolved issues, and will also let you know what information, such as bank statements, property documents, or child custody agreements, you each need to bring to the next session. You and your spouse will attend scheduled mediation sessions until all issues have been satisfactorily resolved and you are able to agree on a mutually beneficial divorce settlement.
Since the number of mediation sessions is largely up to you and your soon-to-be ex, depending on how well you are able to work together, keep these tips from Denver Divorce Mediators SplitSimple.com in mind to help your divorce mediation process go more quickly:
Remaining calm will not only greatly lessen the amount of time spent in the divorce mediation process, but it will also help you reach a mutually satisfactory agreement sooner, which can help expedite the finalization of your divorce. So practice your deep breathing, and find ways to bring yourself quickly back to a sense of peace and calm. Try to imagine your future, and how much relief you will have. The future is a scary place, if you let it be. Instead, choose to imagine a future that is better and give your present-day self some hope!
It is essential to make your key priorities in terms of the divorce agreement known early in the divorce mediation process so your mediator can work on resolving those issues first. Don’t wait until the final mediation session to bring up a hot-button issue- it is best to get the most important details out of the way first.
If you are unyielding about every single issue, the process of divorce mediation will not only drag on much longer than it needs to, but it can also make your former spouse want to be just as difficult about issues that matter a great deal to you. Being flexible on a few things will help your divorce mediation process will go much more smoothly, with a much more beneficial agreement in the end.
Focus on the end goal
Remember that you need to get through this process as quickly as possible. Be kind to your “future self”, and simplify this divorce as much as possible. It can be tempting to delay the process, or make demands to harm your former spouse. In fact, divorce is one of the rare situations where people are known to hurt themselves just to hurt their ex-spouse as well. It’s counter-intuitive, and important that you do not journey down that rabbit hole.
Keep the children in mind
For couples that may need to have parenting plans with children – or even pets – keep in mind the pain that it may cause these innocent parties when your split causes arguments to become bitter interactions. Even the smallest disagreement or issue – such as a pair of socks left behind, or a skinned knee during a visitation time activity – can blow up into a tremendously difficult issue.
Divorce can be one of the most emotionally draining and painful experiences of a person’s life. Choosing divorce mediation when possible can help make a bad time better. Avoiding the substantial costs and drama associated with traditional courtroom divorce litigation can help you get over this hurdle more quickly and begin the next chapter of your life.