Divorce mediation is often the most beneficial and least confrontational way to determine the specifics of your divorce. During a mediation, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will meet with a neutral third party known as the mediator to work through unresolved issues so you can work out the details of your divorce in an amicable manner that is palatable to both parties.
You will likely discuss critical details such as child custody, parenting time, child support, property distribution, retirement support and even taxes. While the mediation process is less combative than going to court, it can still be stressful. If you are going through this process, please make sure you are prepared for the session and have a definite game plan.
- Gather and organize your financial documents. It’s a good idea to list your assets including your bank account, retirement funds, real estate, vehicles, annuities, stock, mutual funds and any other asset that is of significant value. Also, list your debts including credit card balances, student loans, home equity loan, rent, mortgage, etc.
- Check with your mediator beforehand regarding if you need original documents at the meeting.
- It’s also important to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. Remember that this is a negotiation. Emotions may run high and that could affect your ability to think clearly. Refrain from using hurtful words and stay calm. Remember, the goal is to negotiate, not to argue.
- Plan your budget. Think about how much money you need and what you can afford. Base your potential budget on expenses that you expect to have and bring that budget with you to the mediation. When calculating your budget, consider how much you will have to pay for housing, transportation, health insurance and other monthly expenses.
Last but not least, learn about your rights. Seek out legal guidance from an experienced California family law attorney and learn about all aspects of your case. Having a clear understanding of what to expect will help you get what you need from the mediation session.