Mediation is an excellent method of divorce resolution when both parties are willing to pursue an amicable agreement. However, to achieve a fair resolution, you need to know what to expect and how to prepare.
Here are some of the most important tips to keep in mind when working with your attorney for a successful mediation:
Remember the Ultimate Goal
The goal of mediation is to settle all issues in your case by agreement and avoid the need for a trial. Often, a private mediator is hired to assist the parties and attorneys in reaching a settlement when other attempts have failed. You will want to meet with your attorney in advance of mediation to prepare.
Prior to meeting with your attorney, make a list of each and every issue that you believe has been resolved, which enables you to affirm those agreements at mediation.
You will also want to note all issues that you believe have not been resolved and indicate how you would like to see them handled. Outline those issues starting with a main idea, and each subpart of that idea, ensuring that you capture each issue that you feel needs to be addressed. This outline will be helpful to both your attorney and you.
For example, if parenting time is an issue in your case, you want to be sure to attempt to also settle issues associated with summer parenting time, vacations, holidays, daycare, and so on. If selling the marital residence is an issue, you will want to address who chooses the Realtor, the amount for which the house will be listed and/or sold, and who will make payments until the house sells.
Your attorney can help you ensure the list of issues for mediation is complete. Make sure you have provided your attorney any documentation that supports your position on each issue.
Understand What’s Next
Your attorney should provide their expert advice on the likelihood of prevailing at trial on each of the outstanding issues. You also need to understand the attorney’s fees and costs you will incur in preparing for and going to trial versus settling the issues at mediation. This information will help you to determine what weight to give each of your positions in mediation and what you are willing to bargain away in a settlement.
Mediation is a time to be creative. Ask your attorney about options available to you for settlement that may not be remedies a judge can order at trial. It is always better to control the outcome of your case by settlement, if possible, rather than having the future of you and your children decided by a judge who does not know you and has only limited time to hear your case. Settlement at mediation can be a positive conclusion to what was likely a difficult divorce process.
Contact us at Hallier Lawrence for more information on how Hallier Lawrence can help you prepare for a successful mediation outcome.