Divorce is often one of the most difficult experiences a person will go through, but it doesn’t have to be a painful process. Mediation can help couples come to an agreement outside of court, allowing them to move on with their lives. If you are considering mediation, here is an essential checklist to help prepare you ahead of time.
1. Choose a mediator: Mediators are neutral third parties who help couples navigate their divorce. Choose a mediator who has experience working with couples in your situation and who you feel comfortable with.
2. Gather your financial documents: Divorce mediation requires an honest and transparent exchange of financial information. Have all your financial documents, including tax returns, bank statements, and investment portfolios, organized and easy to access.
3. Consider your priorities: What is most important to you in the divorce negotiations? Consider issues such as child custody, child support, alimony, and property division. Knowing what you want and what you are willing to compromise on ahead of time can save time and money.
4. Be open to compromise: The purpose of mediation is to find a solution that works for both parties. Be open to different solutions and ways to meet each other’s needs.
5. Find emotional support: Divorce is an emotional process that can take a toll on your mental health. Find a support system, such as friends, family, or a therapist, who can offer emotional support and help you manage your stress levels.
6. Stay focused: Mediation requires focus and patience. Stay focused on the issues at hand and avoid bringing up past hurts or arguing about non-essential matters.
7. Draft a detailed agreement: Once an agreement is reached, draft a detailed agreement that outlines all the terms and conditions. This document will serve as the official record of your divorce and should be reviewed by a lawyer before it is signed.
8. Be willing to revisit the agreement: Life changes and circumstances can shift. Be willing to revisit the agreement if needed and make adjustments to ensure that it continues to work for both parties.
Divorce mediation can be an effective way to work through the difficulties of divorce outside of a courtroom. With the help of a mediator, couples can negotiate an agreement that meets the needs of everyone involved. Use this checklist to help prepare yourself for the process and navigate the complex emotion and practical aspects of divorcing in a collaborative, positive way.