You were young, you finished college and began a career, you fell in love and married the love of your life and then soon you were proud parents – it all seemed to fall into place including the house of your dreams with the picket fence. BAM! It may have seemed to happen all of a sudden, the two of you seemed to be worlds apart and maybe you were surprised to be served with court papers with a divorce pending or you just realized that you’re living with a stranger – what can you do and where do you turn?
If divorce is fast becoming a new reality, you may want to consider that divorce mediation. The role of the mediator is to act as a neutral third party who helps to keep the dialogue and conflict resolution process moving forward
Here are five reasons to consider mediation:
Property – initially, you should take picture of the major assets such as paintings, furniture, appliances, electronics, etc. Do not throw anything out or give anything away. Make a list of all assets that both of you share and own together. This list will be used to equally and deliberately divide our possessions in an equitable and fair way.
Emotions – no matter how you feel or what you do, keep your painful emotions such as anger, grief, frustration, etc., out of the presence of both your children and spouse. Leave your feelings checked at the door and do not allow others to perceive you as a ‘hostile’ parent because this may be used against you regarding custody, potentially. During the meetings, stay objective and review the proposal with a clear eye towards the facts of your situation so as to determine what’s best for you, your spouse, and your family.
Kids–if you have children, be prepared to place their best interests first. First, the whole idea of divorce and separate lives will scare them so don’t hesitate to have them talk about their concerns and, depending on some cases, seek therapy or counseling. Be aware that they may play “good parent” and “bad parent” and start acting out and exhibits many changes that are outside of their normal character.
Research –Choose a mediator who has experience and who will agree to conduct meetings at a neutral location – not at the office of the attorney for either party. Both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse should have an understanding that the mediator will not be the one to decide but only to facilitate the communications so that you can decide what is equitable and fair – compromise and reach agreements.
Finances – this may be the most difficult for some couples especially the one parent or spouse which is not the main earner. Again, keep the children in mind and abide by local, state and national, laws regarding alimony and child support. Some county courts offer online calculators that are based on local statues.