In the divorce process, your goal is a fair and reasonable settlement. An Orlando mediation attorney can help you communicate with your spouse in a way that makes it possible for both parties to reach an agreement without arguing. Here are six tips to prepare for the mediation process so you can get the most from this process.
How Does Divorce Mediation Work?
Divorce mediation is a process that occurs before the finalization of your divorce. It involves two or more parties in a dispute working with a mediator to reach an agreement and then having it approved by the court. This is different than litigation because it does not go through the court system, with each party represented by their attorney. Instead, you work with a neutral third party who helps guide you toward an agreement before taking action in court.
Mediation has several benefits because it allows both parties to maintain control over their case while staying out of court and avoiding expensive legal fees associated with litigation. Some of these benefits include:
- a better understanding and communication of expectations
- lower stress levels for all involved
- financially affordable in comparison to traditional litigation methods
1. Keep an Open Mind
To prepare for a successful mediation, you must understand that your mediator cannot force the opposing party to agree with your position. Be open-minded and willing to compromise. Do not be defensive or rigid in your work. Avoid being too flexible either; this will make it difficult for your lawyer to negotiate on your behalf and could result in an unfair settlement at the end of the day.
It is also important not to allow emotion or logic to hinder finding common ground between both parties during mediation. You should remember that no matter how much emotion or reason may be involved, there needs to be some level of empathy.
2. Know Your Divorce Goals
Divorce mediators are trained to help you get clarity on what you want and need in your divorce. They will ask you questions requiring you to define your divorce goals. Some of these questions include:
- how important is it to have a written agreement with your spouse?
- what are the most important things that must be decided before divorce?
- what factors do you consider the most important when determining who should have custody of the children?
These questions can help clarify what’s essential for each party during this process and give each person some insight into where their spouse is coming from.
3. Have a Financial Plan
The third step in preparing for divorce mediation is to review your financial plan with an attorney. The attorneys at Cobb Cole are happy to meet with you to discuss this plan and answer any questions you may have. If you need assistance creating a financial plan, our attorneys are available to guide you.
When reviewing the details of your case with us during mediation sessions, we will look at each item within the plan individually and discuss its potential impact on the rest of the divorce proceedings. This allows us to ensure that both parties understand how their decisions could affect everything from tax returns to specific assets like retirement accounts or real estate investments.
4. Think About Your Assets
Now that you have a clear idea of what assets you and your spouse own, it’s time to consider how they are valued. There are two basic ways assets can be assessed: market value and book value. Market value involves looking at the price that an asset would sell for if it were up for sale on the open market, while book value refers to what an asset is worth according to as written in financial statements or tax returns. Before deciding which method is suitable for your situation, consider whether any of these factors apply:
- is there any room for negotiation? If so, this may affect which valuation method works best for you and your spouse.
- how much risk are you willing to take?
Suppose there is no chance of either party getting a better deal from another buyer or seller than from their current partner during negotiations. Using book value may make sense because it’s considered more stable than market values over time. However, if there’s even some tiny chance that another party could come along with better terms than those offered by either party so far—which is often true when dealing with businesses—then using market values might yield better results.
5. Know What You Want Concerning Retirement Plans
If your spouse has a 401k or IRA, know what percentage of the plan you would like to take and what rate you want to leave with your spouse. Suppose your former spouse takes less than half of their account balance from their retirement plan before they get married again and have children with their new partner. In that case, they will be subject to paying alimony for life (unless there is some other reason that might allow them not to pay).
6. Prepare a List of Questions for Your Mediator
- ask questions important to you.
- ask questions that you want to know the answer to.
- ask questions to help you make good decisions and understand the process better.
Although it may seem obvious, keep in mind that everyone has different expectations and goals coming into divorce proceedings. There are many things to consider when approaching mediation, including financial considerations and custody arrangements (if applicable). It’s essential to ensure these factors align with your values before choosing a mediator or starting the process!
Hire Cobb Cole’s Orlando Mediation Attorneys for Your Divorce
During the mediation process, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and get answers from your spouse. You must be prepared with a list of questions because it will help direct the conversation and keep things on track.
If there is something specific that you want to be addressed in mediation, such as child support or property division, then it’s best to bring this up before the meeting starts. Otherwise, the mediator may not be able to address all issues during your session.
We hope you find these tips helpful in preparing for your divorce mediation. Contact our Orlando mediation attorneys to schedule a consultation, and if you have any additional questions about mediation or other divorce-related matters, we are here to help!