Going to trial can be a stunningly unpleasant experience. There is a natural anxiety that comes with testifying in a courtroom. But those feelings multiply when the subject matter is a divorce. After all, the long-simmering anger between spouses is at a natural climax, the tension is palpable, and there is always a level of uncertainty about the outcome of a trial. In addition, trials are very expensive for the parties and are time-consuming for overworked courts. This is why courts will often order parties to attempt to mediate their dispute before trial.
How Can I Prepare for Mediation?
Mediation is an informal meeting in which all parties attempt to reach a binding agreement. Everyone sits down with the mediator — an objective third party who is either an attorney or a certified negotiator — who moves between the parties and attempts to nudge everyone toward the same position. Despite that mediation is informal, there are still steps that you can take with your attorney to prepare.
- Get in touch with your attorney to discuss mediation. It is of vital importance that you and your attorney are on the same page entering mediation. If you are not on the same page, you will give off the perception that you are unclear and indecisive, which will diminish your bargaining power.
- Put together a comprehensive list of any changes to your income, your former spouse’s income, and any changes in marital assets. These changes will be relevant to any negotiations regarding child support, alimony, and the overall asset distribution. In addition, you do not want your attorney to be surprised by information that you knew but failed to share.
- Approach your attorney with all of your questions about child custody, child support, alimony, and the division of marital assets. These are all issues that are likely the subject of your mediation. It is important to be fully informed of the decisions you are going to be asked to make. After all, while your attorney aggressively represents you, the ultimate decisions are yours to make
- Make proper child care and work arrangements for the day of mediation. Mediation can sometimes last a full day. If the mediator feels like there is a real chance at a settlement, mediation can last into the evening. Take off a whole day of work and make sure to have arrangements for the children’s care for the entire day.
- Approach mediation with your mind open to negotiating. While you may want a trial and think that you will get what you want from a trial, things may not work out like you expect. Trials are expensive and sometimes unpredictable. There is always a possibility that you will not get what you want, even if the facts and the law are in your favor. It is worth everyone’s while to negotiate in good faith.
Are you getting divorced? Let the Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas advocate for you. For more than two decades, I have provided tough, smart representation in all areas of family law, including divorce, child custody, and dispute resolution. My team will take your divorce seriously and provide you with the tools necessary to make an informed decision. Call our office today at 847-392-5893 for a consultation, or visit our website.