In mediation, couples control the outcome of their separation or divorce by making the necessary decisions about their changing family and financial situation themselves. If you are considering mediation, what can you do to prepare?

  • As a parent, you can think about how you want your children to perceive your separation or divorce. How can you help your spouse succeed as a parent for the sake of your children? What is a schedule of access to your children that is best for them and that you can achieve?
  • Think about how you would like your future to look. How much will it cost to support the life you envision? Consult with experts such as your accountant and realtor and be ready to discuss a realistic budget.
  • Gather statements and documents that show the value of your assets and debts. Include your bank and retirement accounts, your mortgage, credit cards, loans, tax returns and pay stubs from the last few years.
  • Think about the value of personal property you own together. Are any items more important to you than others?
  • Keep your mind open to different possible outcomes. Conversely, do not get attached to any particular outcome as the only one you will agree to. In mediation you have the opportunity to negotiate and trade creatively in order to arrive at more satisfying solutions.
  • Come to mediation expecting to have the opportunity to state your needs and wants and be ready to hear about your spouse’s needs and wants.
  • Get the right support system in place. Separation and divorce can be extremely stressful. Consult with a therapist or coach who can help you identify and manage any emotions that may be keeping you from expressing yourself clearly and/or blocking your ability to make decisions.

Couples who come to mediation prepared mentally and with the information they need, make informed decisions and save time and money. Are you prepared to try mediation?

Image credit:  Mufidah Kassalias on Flickr, used with Creative Commons license.

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