Arriving at the decision to get a divorce will be long and stressful for you. But the moment that you choose to divorce your husband or wife, you must be as prepared as possible so that the whole process will be as smooth and problem-free as possible.
Know what divorce mediation is.
If you feel that divorce is the only way to solve your issues with your spouse, you actually have five different routes to choose from. According to an article published on EquitableMediation.com, the options are DIY Divorce, Internet Divorce, Divorce Mediation, Lawyer-driven Divorce, and Collaborative Law Process.
In a DIY divorce, you, as a couple, prepare all the documents needed. You will file them to the appropriate courts and represent themselves accordingly.
If you choose the Internet Divorce, you will use an internet app to answer questions that relate to what couples usually undergo. The paperwork will then be printed. You will then follow the instructions on how to file the papers to the court.
If one or both spouses hire a lawyer to represent them in the court, the process is called lawyer-driven divorce. The lawyer will prepare all the paperwork and make sure that his or her client gets the best deal on the settlement. This can be very expensive because you are hiring a professional to represent you in court.
Divorce mediation is a process that uses a neutral third party to help with the steps of the divorce. This third party is knowledgeable in the legal matters of divorce and will assist both spouses in the negotiation. Once you both agree on all matters, the divorce will be final.
The Collaborative law process is a combination of the law-driven option and divorce mediation.
Going the Divorce Mediation Route
You and your spouse can choose to have divorce mediation if you are both willing to talk and negotiate. Since there will be no lawyers present, you are free to present your terms to your spouse. The mediator can help both of you to work out the terms of the divorce.
The divorce mediation may take two to six months depending on the length of the negotiation and the complexities of the marriage. Once all the issues have been settled and the forms have been filled and drafted, you will file them and get a court date.
Here are tips that you should consider so that you will come well-prepared for divorce mediation:
6 Tips to Prepare for Divorce Mediation
1.Talk to your spouse first.
Divorce mediation is a nice choice because you will spend less money than you would if you hired a lawyer to negotiate for you. But before you choose this option, you have to ask your spouse first.
Why? Because divorce mediation is a cooperative process. With divorce mediation, you should reach an agreement together. You should both go into divorce mediation with a mindset of negotiating, discussing preferred terms, and eventually reaching a compromise.
Depending on the complexities of your relationship, you should know whether your spouse will agree to undergo a divorce mediation with you. If you will both decide to choose this option, you should then proceed to the next step.
2.Know your terms.
A mediator is very educated when it comes to the divorce process. He will definitely be a great help to you in negotiating and reaching an agreement with your spouse. Since he is not one-sided, he will not be biased in regard to the decisions you need to make.
But the questions lie in the terms that you will be providing. The mediator can only be of assistance to you if you know what you are talking about. If you have not prepared any documents and made a list of the necessary financial records, he will not be able to help you.
What do you need? As early as today, you should make a list of all your possessions before marriage and during the marriage. Different states have various laws concerning the ownership of properties. You have to identify the relevant state laws to ensure that you are getting the assets that you actually own.
The list that you will create should include all the properties that you can think of. This includes real estate, jewelry, furniture, vehicles, financial accounts, bank funds, bonds, insurance policies, stocks, retirement funds, and credit cards. Don’t forget to include your salaries, business incomes, profit statements, social security, and other income sources that the family has.
You should also make a list of your monthly and yearly expenses. These are your mortgage payments, utilities and food bills, loans, and other expenditures.
3.Prepare your financial affidavit.
Some courts may require you to submit a financial affidavit. A financial affidavit is a list of all your income sources and expenses. Although there are many source documents that can be used to estimate the assets and outflows that you have, the financial affidavit presents a formal sworn position for you. It gives a more concise list as opposed to numerous records that you have from various documents.
The court and the opposing party will use this financial affidavit as the basis for the dissolution. Since a divorce mediation is a transparent and full disclosure process, you should be completely honest with the details that you will include in the affidavit to avoid any troubles and questions.
4.Set the range of your terms.
As with any negotiation, you need to set a range for terms you will accept. To do this, you should determine beforehand which assets and properties you can live without and which ones you really need.
This can be very difficult at times, because you may see every asset as important to you. But being in a divorce mediation will require you to place a line between what you can accept and what you are not going to agree with.
The range will involve all aspects of your marriage and not just the physical and financial properties. The way the kids will be raised should also be mentioned. Who will take care of the children? How many days a week will there be visitation? How about child support?
You should know your answers to these questions to be able to come prepared for the divorce mediation. In this process, you still have to be open-minded and ready to negotiate. Since you will be dealing with a third-party mediator, you can be sure that you will not get the short end of the deal.
5.Separate financial discussions from the overall welfare of the kids.
Some people may want to have custody over the kids so that they can have the financial child support. You have to separate the mindset of gaining a financial edge from any decisions regarding the future of the kids.
For children, seeing their parents getting a divorce is hard enough. Letting them undergo an ugly back-and-forth battle would be heartbreaking for them. Make sure to create the best situation possible for the kids. If you can arrive at decisions wherein you can reduce the effects of the divorce from their lives, do so.
Just a side note: Talk to your kids about your present circumstance. It will be difficult for you to discuss what is currently going on and what will happen in the future. But they should also be prepared for this process. Make sure that they understand what the family is going through. Let them ask questions and answer clearly so that they will not be at a loss in your situation.
6.Find a good divorce mediator.
Anyone can take your money and be a mediator for your divorce – but you may not be sure whether he will actually help you or not. An article posted on Huffpost.com says that a good mediator must make the process easy for you. His expertise should be affordable to you. He must be an expert in divorce mediation.
A good divorce mediator must be a great problem-solver and be considerate to both of you. To know this, you must set up a free consultation meeting with him.
Lastly, a good mediator will only take the job if he determines that a divorce is the only solution for you. He must make sure that you will reach a final agreement and that both sides will be equally happy with the settlement.
Divorce mediation is one of the best and least expensive ways to reach an agreeable settlement between spouses. An unbiased mediator will definitely make the process easier, and he will do all that he can to provide satisfaction to both parties. This option will be great for couples who are open to discussing their terms and getting a resolution.
Divorce is stressful enough. Don’t make it harder by coming unprepared. Follow these tips and be guided accordingly so that you can move on and transition to the new chapter of your life.