How to survive your first day of divorce mediation
If you have scheduled your first divorce mediation session with your ex-spouse, then it is understandable that you would be feeling a mixture of nervousness and apprehension. You don’t know how it will go and might be worried that the whole thing will end up being a waste of time that sets you and your ex even more at odds.
While it is normal to have doubts, you should put them at the back of your mind and give the process your best effort (if not for your sake, then for the sake of your children). Choosing to pursue professionally-guided divorce mediation is a sensible decision for both financial and psychological reasons, since battling out the dispute in court is both highly expensive and emotionally draining.
In order to help you survive that first day of divorce mediation, we have prepared the following guide.
Be punctual and organised with relevant documentation
You should arrive 5-10 minutes early and ensure that you have all of the relevant documentation with you so that you are not stumped during the negotiation when your ex asks a specific question about your assets. You should have a full list of all the assets you have, and you should ask your lawyer to assist you in preparing this. You should have printed out the balances of all your financial accounts and bring forth a breakdown of any debts you have. Ensure that any personal loans between you, family members or friends are disclosed so that there are no hidden surprises. Depending on your relationship with your ex, you may be able to work on this asset list together and this will make the mediation process take less time since you are both on the same page about what assets there are to be divided. Typically, people will put all of this information in a digital spreadsheet so that it can be shared around and edited easily.
Leave your emotions at home
You divorce mediation is meant to be a clam and controlled negotiation – coming in with heated emotions is just going to derail the whole thing and waste everyone’s time. You are not there to swap insults or get revenge, you are there to put the dispute to rest by coming to a mutually agreeable settlement with the aid of a professional mediator. If you really are struggling with the emotional aspects of the split, join a support group or engage a therapist – anything to avoid bringing negative energy to what is meant to be a clinical negotiation.
Don’t argue, negotiate
While the difference between an argument and a high-stakes negotiation may seem hard to identify at times, there is a difference and it’s a good idea that you understand it before going into divorce mediation with your ex-spouse. Think practically about what you want and what needs to be done to accomplish that so you can put this chapter of your life behind you instead of lingering on it.
Understand your rights and your obligations
Do yourself a favour and get educated about all of your rights and obligations when it comes to the divorce process and the division of your assets/planning of parenting arrangements. Don’t hesitate to speak to your lawyer about the complexities of this process so you can get a lay-man’s explanation and be better equipped for your divorce mediation.
Be prepared to compromise
Very rarely does anybody get exactly what they had in mind when a negotiation wraps up. Most often, the deal that is reached is a carefully structured compromise that both parties feel fairly took their side into account. In order for divorce mediation to be successful, you need to have an open mind and be prepared to dial back your expectations where it would be unreasonable for you to push for more.
Hopefully the information in the guide above will help you when going into your first divorce mediation. If you require divorce mediation services, get in contact with us at O’Sullivan Mediation to see how we can help you.