Mediation is a form of resolution that is often used by couples who are going through a contested divorce. During the mediation process, a couple negotiates the terms of their divorce with a neutral mediator who is able to steer the conversation towards an amicable resolution. Typically, attorneys do not attend the mediation session and a person who has not seen or spoken to his or her spouse directly may not feel confident about seeing the ex or discussing divorce terms. Unfortunately, the expediency and affordability of mediation often create a situation where an adult is forced to overlook his or her own discomforts in order to come to a mutually beneficial agreement. Keeping this essential advice for those preparing for mediation in mind can help you get through the often stressful process.
Focus on the Future
The average divorce is initiated because of one or more past actions that involved one or both spouses. While it is difficult to ignore emotional or financial harm that a spouse has caused during a marriage, it is important that you focus on the future during mediation sessions. The mediator is responsible for helping you and your spouse come to an agreement regarding your divorce settlement. He or she is not prepared to offer marriage counseling and is not there to serve as a referee for a verbal battle. Keep your mind on the concessions you need to help you maintain your standard of living after the divorce is finalized.
Do not rely on your spouse, your attorney, or the court to provide documentation that is relevant to your situation. Always bring documentation regarding individual assets, marital assets, property ownership, prior custody arrangements, and anything else that is relevant to your current situation. When discussing your requests with your spouse and a mediator, you must be prepared to show tangible evidence that supports the validity or reasonableness of your claims. When a mediator is presented with two different sides to an argument, but only one side has provided documentation, the mediator is more likely to suggest negotiation options that are based on the tangible evidence provided.
Ask for Breaks
No matter how prepared you are and how willing you are to negotiate, it is still likely that the process will become stressful. If you feel as though you are becoming overwhelmed or otherwise emotionally drained, ask for a break in the proceedings. Being able to have a few moments alone to relax and regroup can help you avoid arguments or a loss of control. It is even possible to reschedule your mediation session or ask to talk to your mediator alone for a few minutes if you are having difficulty discussing a certain subject in front of your spouse or his or her attorney.
Check with an Attorney
Even though mediation is a cost effective alternative to expensive divorce litigation, it is not a replacement for the advice of a skilled divorce attorney. Prior to scheduling mediation, contact an attorney to verify that mediation is the right option for your situation. If you are unsure about mediation or concerned that you will not be able to adequately negotiate on your own behalf, it is possible to attend mediation with a non-confrontational attorney. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitaebaum are prepared to offer you honest advice regarding your unique situation. Contact one of our four Atlanta locations today to schedule an appointment.