Choosing to mediate your divorce is a good idea, especially if your divorce involves complex property division. Many divorcing New York couples are using mediation as an alternative to traditional litigation, in the hopes that they will save time and money.
While these are two benefits to mediation, mediating your divorce also increases your chance of achieving a satisfactory result. Unlike leaving decisions about finances and property up to a judge, with mediation, you and your spouse reach decisions based on your own agreement.
Mediation involves more than just showing up and talking, or worse, arguing about things. Taking the following steps before your mediation can help you get the most out of the experience.
Choose the right mediator
Do not underestimate the importance of selecting the right mediator. Although a mediator is not a judge, and does not advocate for one spouse over another, each mediator does have their own unique conflict resolution style.
You may prefer a mediator with a calming presence who quietly guides the mediation along, or you might want one with a more direct approach. If you and your spouse have different style preferences, compromise by trying to find one with a blend of both your styles.
Listen and wait for your turn to speak
Prepare to have to listen to your spouse say things you do not like at the mediation. The tone of the mediation should always be respectful and appropriate; however, the reality is that you would likely not be divorcing if there were not differences or issues between you and your spouse.
Each of you will get a chance to speak and advocate for your side, so let your spouse talk, knowing that you will get your chance, as well.
Gather and organize documents
Bring organized documentation to the mediation and use it to back up your positions. It is difficult to argue that you should get the house if you do not have financial information showing you can afford the mortgage payments.
Organization, an open mind and the right environment all contribute to positive results at mediation. An experienced family law attorney can help you prepare and be a strong ally at your mediation.