Divorce Mediation Tips
If you have decided to mediate rather than litigate your divorce, here are some tips to make your mediation successful.Hire a Mediator Who Meets Your Needs
If you want to mediate a divorce, then you might find it helpful to hire a family law attorney mediator who knows the law and can help you fashion an agreement that is consistent with the law. While your mediator is neutral and can not provide either party with legal advice, your mediator can provide you with legal information. It is not a good use of your time to fashion an agreement that a court will not issue as an order because it does not comply with the law.
Mediation is an unregulated profession and there are no special qualifications required. There is a 40-hour certification program available though, and it is helpful to confirm that your mediator is certified.Be Prepared to Make Your Own Decisions
Mediation is about you making your own decisions that will work best in the context of your unique circumstances with the assistance of a mediator. The mediator can guide you through the decision-making process and provide you with useful information, however will not make decisions for you. If you are looking for more assistance with decision-making, then perhaps you might prefer a traditional representation model where an attorney can negotiate with the other party and represent your individual interests.
A mediator will help you identify the issues that must be resolved to enter into a separation agreement and/or parenting plan. It will be up to you to propose various ideas that might work for you and your mediator can assist you in exploring the desirability and viability of those issues. Your mediator can also suggest ideas that have worked for others similarly situated to you.Actively Participate
The more effort you put into the mediation, the more likely you will reach a successful resolution, and the higher the probability that you will reach an agreement that will be effective in the long-term. There is preparation required, such as gathering together your financial information. It is also helpful to be as civil and cooperative as possible, and sometimes interacting with your spouse can take some mental effort to achieve that level of constructiveness. A mediator can assist in maintaining civility by taking breaks at appropriate times or even speaking to the parties separately for brief periods of time.Compromise
Reaching an agreement and avoiding expensive, contested court proceedings is an achievement worth accomplishing. In order to reach the higher goal of agreement, it is likely that each of you will have to give up some things that ideally you would like to have in the agreement. A mediator can help keep track of trade-offs made in the course of mediation, so that you can evaluate before signing to ensure that the trade-offs are ultimately fair and agreeable.Seek Support When Needed
Divorce is stressful. Though it can lead to new opportunities and the opportunity to reinvent yourself, it can be a difficult road. Make sure to acknowledge your feelings and obtain support from those who care about you during the process. Though you can not bring a third party into mediation without the consent of the other party due to confidentiality, you can seek support outside of the proceedings.Review Your Financial Information
Many of the issues that are decided in divorce are financial; child support, spousal support, funding of separate residences, and division of assets and debts. Make sure that you gather together all of your financial information so that the mediator can assist you in creating an accurate financial statement for sound decision making. Colorado also requires full disclosure in dissolution which applies equally to mediated agreements. If you do not make full disclosure to the other party, then your dissolution agreement can be reopened at a later time.
To make the best and most realistic financial decisions, you and your spouse should gather together:
- Tax returns
- Pay statements
- Business documentation
- A real estate appraisal or broker opinion
- Mortgage information and balance
- Vehicles and real estate titles
- Bank account information and balances
- Investment account information
- Retirement account information
- Insurance information
- Valuable asset information and appraisals
- Loan information and balance
- Credit card information and balances
- Health insurance policy information
At Janko Family Law, we understand how important reaching constructive agreement is. If you are looking for an attorney mediator in Denver, Aurora, or Stapleton, call for a free case assessment.