5 Steps to Take Before You Start Divorce Mediation
Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

5 Steps to Take Before You Start Divorce Mediation

If you need to divorce, we strongly recommend divorce mediation. This process gets you and your spouse sitting down to work through as much as you can together and out of court. The goal is to make your divorce less adversarial and help you reach a settlement that benefits you both.

Like any other process, though, divorce mediation works best when you prepare. Put in the work ahead of time, and you usually get better results. Think of mediation as one good tool available. When you combine it with preparation and a collaborative process, you can usually find a good path forward.

1. Find the Right Attorney

First, you need good representation. Some divorce attorneys look to fight first, thinking that gets better results. Others plan to be adversarial based on their own experience. These may be good attorneys, but not necessarily right for your family.

If you want to find a peaceful resolution and move on, look for an attorney focused on a collaborative approach. Divorce mediation should not just be a step toward the battlefield. The more your attorney is willing to work toward mutually beneficial outcomes, the more opportunity you have to avoid new scars from the process.

2. Find Points of Agreement

You and your spouse probably will not agree on everything. If you did, you likely would not need a divorce now. Still, you can find areas where you do agree. This may include how to handle your children, some of your assets, or many other areas.

Identify as many of these areas as you can before you start. This helps you avoid wasting a lot of time on issues you already have agreements. In addition, it puts you in a mindset of collaboration. Prepare to agree, and you can build momentum toward a smoother process.

3. Collect Your Financial Information

Before you can reach a settlement, you need to know what you have. Beyond that, you must be ready to disclose assets. Gather all of your account information, lists of assets, and anything else that outlines what you need to share. Otherwise, the divorce mediation process can slow down quickly, which often leads to frustration and even anger.

Openness is the key to success here. Your ultimate settlement will take into account all of your shared assets. If you fail to disclose, you breed distrust and risk invalidating any agreement you reach. Disclose everything and be fair to both your spouse and the process.

4. Be Ready to Collaborate

Many couples divorce in part because they struggle to work together. If it was hard during the marriage, it can be more so in divorce mediation. You need to find ways to work together and trust the process, if you don’t fully trust each other, for the process to work.

Some of this is your attitude. You want a fair result, and honesty is critical to that. Further, you need to go in looking for agreement. Combining divorce mediation with the collaborative process can go a long way to help you get there.

5. Talk to Your Kids

Mutual honesty will help with the divorce mediation itself. In the process, though, do not neglect your children. If you try to keep them in the dark, you may damage relationships for a long time to come.

Finding ways to talk to the kids can be difficult. Focus on giving them the time and openness they need to understand what is happening and why. They are a part of your family, and they need to know you both love them–and will continue to do so.

Divorce mediation can do wonders for helping you find an amicable agreement that is fair and ensures you will both be okay. Unless you are open and trust the process, you can struggle to get there. Prepare yourself for what lies ahead. If you are ready to discuss how mediation and collaborative divorce can help, contact Ogborne Law today.