Traditionally, divorce has been an adversarial process that can often be more difficult than needs to be. However, the last few decades have seen new approaches to the divorce process, such as mediation. Mediation is a process in which two parties attempt to reach a settlement over a conflict between them by allowing an impartial third party to help them reach an agreement. Mediation is not right for every couple going through a divorce, but if you approach it in a positive and productive way, it could end up saving you a great deal of time and money as you navigate your divorce.
Define Your Objectives
No matter how you approach divorce, it is important to clearly define your goals. This is true of the mediation process, too. It is important to adequately prepare for the mediation process in order to get the most out of it, and that begins by defining your objectives. Determine things that are essential to you in a divorce settlement and also things that you might be willing to negotiate on. In addition, you should be able to define why these things are in the category in which you have placed them. Why are you willing to negotiate on some things and not others?
Making this type of list can also help you avoid unnecessary conflict during the mediation process. You will be able to get a clearer understanding of areas where negotiation is possible and you will be able to approach the mediation process with an understanding of the fact that while you may not get everything you want, you know exactly what is most important to you and why. Sometimes being able to express these things in a neutral environment can help make the other side more amenable to hearing your point of view.
Be Prepared to Bargain
It is highly unlikely that you will be able to achieve your dream settlement by the end of your divorce. Being aware of that can help you manage your expectations for all parts of the divorce process. Once you have set your objectives and have a clearer understanding of your priorities, it is important to be prepared to negotiate. An experienced Florida family law attorney that focuses their practice on divorce can help you understand what the negotiation process will entail and how you can effectively be a part of it without losing out on the things that are most important to you. Understanding that negotiation is key to a successful mediation is an important first step in the process.
Even the most amicable divorces have some level of conflict. Do you know how you handle conflict? Do you shy away from it or does it make you aggressive? How do you react to the emotions that could arise during mediation? Understanding the way in which you react to the potential situations that could occur during the mediation process or during divorce in general is an important part of managing your emotions in a positive and productive way. Do not let your emotions get the best of you during mediation because that could lead to you conceding on important things and potentially agreeing to a settlement that is not in your best interests. Stay focused on your goals and stick to the mediation plan you and your attorney have developed in an effort to keep your emotions in check as much as possible.
Create a Thorough Draft of Your Parenting Plan
If you can communicate with your spouse, it is rarely the wrong time to start thinking about your parenting plan. Make sure to be clear and specific about times, dates, and other important aspects of the plan. You will need to consider schools, doctors, holidays, and many other circumstances that have a direct impact on your child as well as on both parents. Coming into the mediation process with a workable custody schedule will help you address issues related to your children in a neutral environment so that you can create a parenting plan that serves the best interests of your child or children.
Understand the Mediator’s Role
Most mediators want to be successful. Reaching settlements is how they measure that success. A mediator may work with you to encourage a concession, but that does not mean they are partial to your spouse. Mediators are not therapists, either. They are not there to make decisions for you or to make judgments about either spouse’s behavior either during mediation or during the marriage. They are not there to tell you what they think or to settle disputes about your settlement. They are there to help you settle those disputes on your own.
Work with Your Attorney
Being open and honest with your attorney about every aspect of your divorce is critical to successfully emerging from the divorce process. Make sure to communicate with your attorney and ask questions, both before and during mediation. In Florida, mediation results are what you make them out to be. The more effort and energy you put into successful mediation, the easier the entire Florida divorce process can be. While it will still be difficult, understanding how you can be successful at mediation may end up saving you time and money. It will certainly save you from extra stress. Scott J. Stadler has worked with many individuals to help prepare them for successful divorce mediation. If you are considering divorce or have already made the difficult decision that divorce is right for you, contact Scott J. Stadler to schedule a consultation and find out more about Florida divorce, including the mediation process and how it might affect you.