Mediation offers an opportunity for a divorcing couple and their experienced Long Island divorce lawyers to work out issues without the cost and stress of a trial. Scheduling the first mediation session makes many spouses nervous. What should you expect? How will it go? What can you do to prepare?
Here are several practical tips for preparing for your first mediation session. Preparing well in advance can help move the process along and improve the quality of the results.
- Organize your financial documents and bring copies.
Bring a list of all the assets you have, including a note of the balance in each bank account and retirement fund. Also, create a list of debts, including balances and monthly payments on mortgages, credit cards, and loans. A spreadsheet or an organized list makes it easier for the mediator to understand the numbers and for you to build your case based on clear, organized information.
- Think “negotiation,” not “argument.”
It can be difficult to leave your grievances against your spouse in the past. During mediation, however, the goal is to move forward. Ask yourself, “What do I want?” Then, discuss your answers with your attorney, who can help you work through mediation with your goals in view.
- Be straightforward about your concerns.
Before mediation, list your concerns so that your attorney can help you address them during mediation. List them even if they seem only tangentially related to your finances or custody situation. For example, if you’re worried about traveling with the children or what will happen when your former spouse wants to introduce a new significant other to them, mention it. Mediation can be used to lay the groundwork for productive co-parenting as well as to end a marriage more amicably.