There are a plenty of reasons why divorce mediation is the most optimal way of divorcing nowadays, see my blog post here. Now that you and your partner have opted for divorce mediation, it’s important to not lose sight of why you chose this route.
In a divorce mediation setting, you are hiring a neutral expert to guide you through the divorce process and facilitate a mutual agreement on all disputed issues. Parties can find themselves at an impasse on certain issues or become revengeful during the process. Below are some helpful tips for how to get the most out of your divorce mediation, so that you come out with a binding and clear settlement.
Manage Your Expectations
Expectations are our beliefs about the future. Most people go into divorce mediation with preconceived expectations about what they are entitled to, how the divorce process will likely playout, and what will happen with their children.
At your initial divorce mediation consultation at Braunstein Law, we explain the “blueprint” of what to expect out of the process, but that is only intended to give individuals an idea of the topics covered at each mediation session, and I always tell my clients to “expect the unexpected.”
Why? Because there are generally two categories of thinking, neither of which are helpful. First, there’s the group of people with optimistic expectations, who feel that they will get everything they want in the divorce. They assume that they will get the support, custody arrangement, and financial settlement that they want. Secondly, there’s the group of people with pessimistic expectations, whofeel that the divorce will be a disaster and that they will get the worst outcome.
Neither category is beneficial in divorce mediation because they impede the negotiation process. For example, overly optimistic individuals tend to dig into their heels the instant they don’t get what they believe they deserve. Conversely, the spouse with pessimistic expectations will automatically assume the other spouse has ulterior motives to their concessions.
It is critical to gauge your expectations as best as possible. Easier said than done, right? Rely on the mediator to help you address those expectations and summarize the content of each mediation session.
Divorce is a document-driven process, which requires both parties to exchange financial disclosures listing all assets and debts, including supporting statements. This can be a cumbersome process and is generally one reason why a divorce can linger for 6 to 18 months!
In fact, the court will not process a judgment of dissolution without the completion of each party exchanging their financial declaration of disclosures, called “Preliminary Declaration of Disclosures.”
At Braunstein Law, we provide clear, succinct instructions for what to prepare to each mediation session, so that everyone is on the same page.
Explain Your Objectives
You will never get anything by demanding it. The best negotiation tactic is to explain what you want, and why that’s a reasonable request.
Explaining your objectives to the mediator does two things: 1) identifies each party’s priorities, and 2) allows the mediator to present appropriate options for a resolution. Often the goal you are trying to achieve can be accomplished in different ways, and it’s important to see that.
Finally, the mediator, as the drafter of your Marital Settlement Agreement, must understand your intentions in order to prepare a legal document with clarity and accuracy. An ambiguous settlement agreement can become problematic for all parties, in the event either party goes to court to enforce an MSA.
Don’t Fight Over the Principle
Lest you want to spend your last dime fighting your ex….don’t fight over the principle. This isn’t a class action lawsuit- you won’t get a freebie by sticking it to the evil corporation. Divorce, (and divorce mediation) involves your money, your spouse and your time.
In the divorce mediation dynamic, it’s especially important to not get tripped up in the minutia and not lose sight of the big picture. An experienced divorce mediator will guide you through the process to ensure a swift resolution so that you can move on with your life.
Contact Braunstein Law today at (858) 603-6473 to set-up a free half-hour divorce mediation consultation.